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Loyola Clinical Centers partnership provides free services through Hearing Health Initiative

| By Molly Robey
Donna Pitts, Au.D., assistant professor of speech-language-hearing sciences, Katherine Hadley Cornell, Psy.D., ’09, psychology division director of the Loyola Clinical Centers and clinical assistant professor in the psychology department
Donna Pitts, Au.D., and Katherine Hadley Cornell, Psy.D., ’09

The Loyola Clinical Centers (LCC) is partnering with Rebuilding Together Baltimore and Cigna to launch a Hearing Health Initiative, which will provide free hearing evaluations and hearing aids to qualified participants, along with wellness screenings to assess mental health and quality of life to eligible members of the Baltimore community.

The Hearing Health Initiative, which is grant funded through the Cigna Foundation, will provide 40 eligible community members—living in Baltimore City’s 21212, 21218, and 21239 zip codes—with free hearing evaluations and wellness screenings.

“The Loyola Clinical Centers’ partnership with Rebuilding Together Baltimore, along with the generous support from Cigna, will help us identify and support individuals in our own community by providing them with access to services and resources in their community that are often not available or may not be covered by Medicare,” said Kara Vincent, ’91, M.S.’93, executive director of the Loyola Clinical Centers.

Under the supervision of Donna Pitts, Au.D., assistant professor of speech-language-hearing sciences, and Kathleen Ward, Au.D., clinical faculty member in speech-language-hearing sciences, first-year graduate students will conduct hearing evaluations and fit participants for hearing aids. The first session will take place at the Govanstowne Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

"The Hearing Health Initiative was purposefully designed to serve some of the most impoverished adults living in Baltimore,” said Pitts. “In doing so, we are fostering a strong Jesuit identity in our students by providing them the opportunity to learn and serve in a diverse world.”

The wellness screenings will be administered by Psy.D. students who are supervised by Katherine Hadley Cornell, Psy.D., ’09, psychology division director of the Loyola Clinical Centers and clinical assistant professor in the psychology department.

“This is a matter of social justice,” said Cornell. “Hearing loss is a common occurrence in older adults, yet sadly not all seniors have access to proper hearing health services. Research has shown that untreated hearing loss in older adults is associated with depression, loneliness, social isolation, and overall quality of life. On a small scale, we are hoping to offset some of these negative effects for seniors in our community by increasing access.”

Participants in the Hearing Health Initiative will be asked to participate in follow-up appointments in their home or community location. Wellness survey reports will be taken during the one, three, and six-month appointments after hearing aids are given to the participants.

 “The community members’ participation in our Hearing Health Initiative will allow the LCC to research the relationship between social determinants of health such as hearing health and mental health wellness,” said Vincent. “By providing hearing aids at no cost to qualifying individuals, we aim to improve their ability to socialize and interact in their communities.”

To be eligible for the study, participants must be at least 65 years or older and meet income requirements. For more information about the Hearing Health Initiative and for eligibility requirements contact the Loyola Clinical Centers at 410-617-1200, www.loyola.edu/department/clinical-centers or Rebuilding Together Baltimore at https://www.rtbaltimore.org/.

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