Program: BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Mentor: Carole E. Johnson, Ph.D., AuD., CCC-A, FAAA
Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders
My name is Natalie Rothbauer. I am a senior in Communication Sciences and Disorders and will complete my B.S in May 2016. Prior to joining the HERO Lab, I was involved in political science research on the Norman campus with the Public Opinion Learning Laboratory, which is what sparked my interest to find an opportunity to research within my own field. After taking Dr. Johnson's anatomy class and learning about her lab, I was honored for the opportunity to work with her and the rest of the HERO Lab team.
My current research project shows the understanding of Firefighters' Knowledge of, Experiences with, and Attitudes Toward Hearing Loss and its Prevention. This study was conducted by use of an online survey. Participants were recruited via email and represented wide demographics of experience as firefighters. This research is important to all disciplines of allied health because it proves the miscommunication in regards to hearing loss prevention and management in this special population. It should be concerning to all Allied Health professionals that a firefighter with knowledge of hearing loss may not follow through with audiological management due to the fear of forced retirement. In addition, this directly relates to psychological factors associated with injuries or disabilities on the job and shows health professionals should consider extra counseling as a part of their treatment plan.
I had the opportunity to present this research last month at the American Academy of Audiology conference. It was one of the most challenging academic weeks thus far in my academic career and I would highly recommend that students in all disciplines attend a national conference in their respective fields.
Next year, I will start my AuD at Illinois State University where I will be working in their Hearing Loss Prevention Lab. I hope to further my research within the firefighting community and other underserved populations and will utilize the data from this study to create better hearing protection devices and hearing technologies wearable in highly variable situations.