CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University Speech-Language Pathology Program will host a Hygiene Spa and Prevention clinic on Tuesday. The clinic, run by Speech-Language Pathology graduate students, will help residents of the community combat and prevent voice disorders.
“We’re hosting that event because research is showing that, first of all, we’re using our voices more than ever now. Most jobs require some sort of high vocal demand or high vocal use. And as such, the main thing to prevent long-term damage whether it’s a teacher in a classroom, or say, a theater or music student is, in fact, learning about the voice,” said Zeth Coleman WTAMU Speech and Hearing Clinic Director of Clinical Operations. “Then using some of the techniques that speech-language pathologists use to prevent vocal injury.”
According to officials with WTAMU, studies have shown since 2012, with the increase of telecommunication, like phone calls and video calls, voice disorders have been on the rise.
“Voice disorders were on the rise because we’re using technology that requires our voices, even more, more people working from home and doing meetings through a screen now. And so, it’s really imperative that if we know 1 in 13 adults experiences a voice problem,” said Collom. “Our new speech-language pathologist need the fundamental skills to be able to treat this population.”
Collom added that the clinic will start with students providing a free screening of the clients to assess their needs.
“We’ll also be teaching and using some strategies such as laryngeal massage, that’s kind of where the spa comes in to help relax those muscles. Especially faculty and students on campus who, as the semester wraps up, may be doing more presentations than they’re used to,” said Collom. “Also teaching them some very basic vocal exercises to help stretch the voice warm the voice up.”
He expressed that having this clinic allows the students to apply what they have learned in the classroom. Giving the opportunity to gain long-term success and skills.
“What’s unique about our program is that our voice disorders and rehabilitation course include a lab so students actually learn hands-on skills that they can apply in clinic. And it’s kind of this merger or marriage between practicum and the classroom,” said Collom. “So, this is an opportunity for our students to be better prepared to serve these patients.”
Collom talked more about the importance of one’s voice.
“If you don’t have a voice, you can’t communicate, essentially. And so, you’d be surprised how much people are sad when they’re starting to have this kind of persistent hoarseness,” said Collom.
The clinic will be taking place at Legacy Hall on the WTAMU campus from 1 to 4 p.m. The clinic is free, and appointments are not required.