In the fall of 2020, a state-of-the-art audiology training room was unveiled at the Barkley Memorial Center. This concluded phase one of a two-phase plan to establish the Academy for Hearing Healthcare. The goal of this academy is to improve the outcomes of hearing healthcare through professional training and multidisciplinary/multi-organizational collaboration.
The second phase involved extensive remodeling of an area on the third floor of the Barkley Center. This space will be used to foster, build and enhance collaboration, while providing students with unique opportunities to engage with community partners. This project is made possible through a generous donation of more than $400,000 from the Schmieding Foundation out of Arkansas. The Schmieding Foundation Academy for Hearing Healthcare officially opened in the fall of 2021.
- The training space features five adult and two pediatric AHead Simulators, used to provide students with opportunities for simulated learning to build their clinical skills. Students are able to practice otoscopy, earmold impressions, hearing aid fittings and verification.
- Other equipment includes 15 laptop computers loaded with simulation software, five of which are connected to verification equipment. All laptops are loaded with the most current versions of software from the top hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers.
- Classroom setup accommodates a combination of didactic and hands-on training, which is common in a medical school training model and supports our audiology program's new block/spiral curriculum.
- The permanent space includes state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities such as a smart board, a hearing induction loop, and multiple monitors. Modular seating and a room divider provide maximum flexibility and allow this space to serve multiple purposes.
- Potential uses for the Schmieding Academy include: classroom, training room, group aural rehabilitation, cochlear implant support group meetings, panel discussions, audiology grand rounds, and seminars/continuing educational training for faculty and local professionals.