MusiCares Receives Communication Services Award
The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Hearing and Speech Center has been providing hearing, speech and language treatment to the Nashville, Tennessee community since 1951. Now a part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Bill Wilkerson Center offers audiology, speech-language pathology, and related services to people of all ages with hearing, speech and other communication disorders in order to improve their communication abilities and quality of life.
The Communication Services Award is an award given by the Bill Wilkerson Center to recognize people and organizations who are not in the profession of audiology or speech pathology, but who provide support to individuals with communication disorders. These are people and organizations that are aware of the importance of the ability to communicate and do a lot to promote communication health through financial support, interdisciplinary healthcare, or publicity. Winners in the past include the Scottish Rite Foundation, which funds child language research, intensive care nurses who make sure patients on ventilators get communication devices quickly, and laryngologists who refer for voice therapy.
MusiCares was chosen for their understanding of the importance of hearing in the life of music professionals and for their dedication to making sure hearing protection and additional services are available to their clients.
MusiCares Nashvilles’ involvement with the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center began in the spring of 2014 when Debbie Carroll, Executive Director of MusiCares Nashville, invited Audiologist Alicia Barker from Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center to give MusiCares members an educational session on hearing conservation and the music industry. After the session the Center provided free hearing screenings.
That first program launched an endeavor to protect musicians’ hearing. MusiCares asked Dr. Barker to represent Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Audiology at the Bonnaroo Artist Compound in June of 2014, where she took impressions for free custom musician filters for all who were interested. The 50 openings for the first day were filled within 30 minutes of opening the tent for services. Working non-stop, approximately 100 people were served in 2 days including agents, security personnel, and musicians. Vanderbilt ordered the custom hearing protection with the ear mold impressions and MusiCares mailed the completed product to the individual, along with information from VBWC Audiology on hearing conservation and hearing services at Vanderbilt.
The audiology staff at Vanderbilt has been touched by the commitment to hearing conservation shown by MusiCares. This organization sincerely cares for the health of their population and demonstrates a real understanding of how hearing protection benefits the lives and livelihoods of their membership.
After Bonnaroo, MusiCares scheduled three clinics with VBWC Audiology offering custom hearing protection to an average of 40 people each clinic. During these clinics, individuals meet with an audiologist to discuss hearing conservation, ask questions, and have an ear mold impression taken to order custom musician filters. Hearing screenings are offered as well. MusiCares® has also scheduled an educational session on hearing conservation.
Because of MusiCares Nashville, countless individuals from all over the nation have personally met with an audiologist to discuss their hearing, over 200 individuals have received custom hearing protection, and over 200 people have received relevant educational pieces produced by Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, all since June of 2014.
The commitment demonstrated by MusiCares to hearing conservation and amplification is inspiring. For these many reasons, the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center presented MusiCares with the 2015 Communication Services Award.