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J Dent Hyg. 2019 Apr;93(2):6-12.

Collaborative Educational Experiences of Dental Hygiene and Audiology Students.


Purpose: An innovative, collaborative interprofessional experience for dental hygiene and audiology students that included hearing assessments and a class lecture/discussion session was developed and implemented at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the objectives were met for the initial educational experience and to identify areas for improvement.Methods: Audiology students, under faculty supervision, provided hearing screenings for 33 senior dental hygiene (DH) students and 4 graduate (DHE) students. In a subsequent didactic session for the DH and DHE students, an audiology doctoral student presented on the following topics: overview of the audiology profession, interprofessional collaboration with audiologists, principles of noise-induced hearing loss, protective measures for hearing health, and techniques for communicating with patients with hearing loss. Class discussion followed the lecture presentation. Surveys on the screening and education session were completed by the students and changes in their perception of knowledge were assessed.Results: Nearly half (49%) of the students indicated that this was their first hearing assessment. The vast majority (97-100%) agreed or strongly agreed that the experience was well-organized, contained important information for dental practice, and increased their understanding of the importance of collaboration and their comfort level in working with audiologists. Nearly all of the students (94%) recommended this experience be included in future curriculum. Significant changes were reported in students' knowledge of hearing assessments, noise induced hearing loss, and communication with patients with hearing loss (Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, p < 0.05).Conclusion: The educational objectives of this initial interprofessional collaborative experience were met. Participants reported that the didactic and experiential education was a valuable learning experience and it increased their knowledge about the audiology profession and hearing health for themselves and their patients.


audiology; dental hygiene education; hearing assessments; interprofessional collaboration; interprofessional education


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