Longwood University’s Speech, Hearing and Learning Services (SHLS) soon will have the only clinical audiologist in a wide region of south-central Virginia, enabling the center to better serve the community.

A grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will fund the hiring of a clinical audiologist, whose community-based services will include hearing evaluations, dispensing hearing aids and guidance for assistive listening devices. The position is expected to continue after the conclusion of the two-year $135,000 grant.

"Currently there is no clinical audiologist closer than Richmond, Lynchburg or Charlottesville, and we are delighted to offer this service to the citizens of Southside Virginia," said Dr. Lissa Power-deFur, SHLS director and professor of communication sciences and disorders.

SHLS’s audiological services will include identifying and diagnosing hearing loss, determining appropriate amplification and providing rehabilitation services for persons with hearing loss. Such services are especially critical due to the region’s higher-than-average rates of poverty and uninsured residents. Services will be available throughout the life span, from infants and toddlers to senior citizens.

The audiologist will work in the new state-of-the-art facility SHLS has occupied since August 2013, which includes a soundproof audiometric booth. "Providing audiology services in Southside Virginia has been part of the long-range plan for SHLS, so we were able to design the building to include an appropriate testing facility," said Power-deFur.

Revenue from billable services, in conjunction with university funds, will provide continued support for the audiologist position. The university will provide a graduate assistant from the Communication Sciences and Disorders program to assist with audiology services.

SHLS, formerly the Longwood Center for Communication, Literacy and Learning, has provided speech language pathology, tutoring and early intervention services to the community since 2006. In 2012-13, SHLS provided more than 2,000 hours of speech-language and tutoring services to area residents.

For more information about the new services, contact Speech, Hearing and Learning Services at 434-395-2972.

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