SCSD Students, Faculty, and Alumni Participate in Special Olympics Healthy Hearing

This May, a group of clinical audiology students, faculty, and alumni from Florida State University’s (FSU) School of Communication Science and Disorders (SCSD) participated in Healthy Hearing, a venue for the Special Olympics Florida (SOFL) Healthy Athletes Program. The group aims to offer Special Olympics athletes free health screenings and education in a welcoming environment.

The SCSD program has participated in Healthy Hearing for 19 years. Dr. Selena Snowden, the Director of Audiology Services at FSU and SOFL’s Clinical Director, helps manage various regional screenings each year. Students can participate in up to five local events and two state events annually, including the Fall Classic in November, and, most recently, The Summer Games in May. 

“Special Olympics greatly impacts not just the athletes involved, but also the students, coaches, and professionals who volunteer! Its inclusive community fosters unforgettable memories and countless moments of pure joy! What a wonderful opportunity for experiential learning and to gain insight into my future profession,” said recent SCSD graduate Katie McGrane. 

SCSD student interacting with a Special Olympics athlete during their hearing exam.At the May 2024 Summer Games, the FSU SCSD team was accompanied by other audiologists from the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, and Nova Southeastern University. Together, they provided 418 athletes with hearing screenings and services, and issued 155 referrals for medical and hearing healthcare. Their efforts contributed to a total of over 3,200 screenings completed across all eight venues. 

Cadee Cooper, a current SCSD graduate student, reflected on her experience, sharing, “SOFL was truly unforgettable, being able to interact with athletes as they shared not only their passions about their respective sports, but curiosity and willingness to learn about the hearing screenings was more than inspiring. My time at SOFL was so rewarding, grateful would be an understatement.”

In addition to SCSD’s contributions, The FSU Speech and Hearing Clinic is a Special Olympics Florida partner site that provides in-office hearing services across North Florida. 

Recently, FSU’s Clinical audiology team was nominated by the Tallahassee Democrat for “Best Hearing Aid/ Hearing Specialist Center” in 2024. The team’s 19-year partnership with Special Olympics truly highlights their commitment to supporting the health and well-being of individuals across North Florida.