Students and faculty at East Carolina University’s College of Allied Health Sciences teamed up to organize free health and wellness screenings this past Friday, May 31, for members of the Greenville community.
According to Katelyn McKissick, an audiology student at ECU and a coordinator of the event, May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. She said students and staff wanted to offer free services to the community in honor of this time.
McKissick said the students and faculty at the event were offering audiology screenings to test hearing for children or adults, speech and language screenings for children, memory screening for adults, fall risk assessments for older individuals, hearing aid cleanings and ergonomic education for adults to help with posture.
McKissick said the purpose of the event was to help raise awareness and improve the lives of those in the community.
“We want to stress the importance of the community,” McKissick said. “Knowing how important it is to know the status of your hearing, your language (and) your motor abilities to create a healthier community.”
According to McKissick, adults who attended the event were better prepared for everyday life as well as occupational pursuits, while children were assessed to help with their schooling needs.
“We can pass that information along,” McKissick said. “Or whichever provider they go to can be in touch with the teachers or the school administrators to make sure they (the children) have whatever services they need in place to succeed in their education.”
McKissick said the event not only helped members of the community, but also the students volunteering. She said the event gave students the opportunity to gain experience and participate in an interprofessional collaboration between the different health concentrations.
Students from some of the different concentrations present at the event were occupational therapy, audiology, speech and pediatrics.
“For a lot of us it’s kind of the first time we’ve been able to work together and see what the other area does,” McKissick said.
McKissick said the students were not required to only practice their own concentration throughout the day, but were encouraged to switch to different areas to gain experience in fields they’re not as familiar with.
Nicole Fox, an occupational therapy student, said she was performing fall risk assessments by checking visual acuity to test sight, mental cognition to test memory and a questionnaire to assess people’s fears of falling. She said this all gets taken into consideration when determining if adjustments in their homes need to be done.
“Based on that (the assessments), we make recommendations on any home modifications,” Fox said. “Like if they need to remove rugs, cords or maybe if grab bars would be helpful.”
Amelia Anglin, an occupational therapy student, said she was looking at ergonomics and how to improve people’s functionality and comfort in a work environment, particularly office work.
Anglin said she was studying the effects of different keyboards on visitors to help them with posture, muscle weakness and general pain from working at a desk and typing on a computer frequently.
According to Anglin, certain keyboards are better for typing rather than traditional ones. Anglin recommended trying out keyboards with raised keys to help avoid muscle strain, or even carpal tunnel syndrome, which can result in pain, numbness or tingling in the arm or hand.
Students in the occupational therapy program said they recommend desktops with keyboards over laptops for students and adults who work due to the health hazards.
“It’s good to have a keyboard that’s lower than where your screen is,” Anglin said. “So that’s why desktops are better than laptops for that ergonomic sense.”
Anglin said it’s beneficial for people’s eye level to be at the same height as the screen to help with posture. She said she recommends investing in a laptop stand for students or even stacking textbooks to prop the laptop up if a desktop is not available.