|The Audiology Department at the Stark County Educational Service Center is committed to providing hearing conservation, assessment, assistive technology, consultation, and follow up services for students in Stark County. Three full-time educational audiologists serve students in 16 school districts. In addition, neighboring districts also contract with SCESC for audiological services. Each year approximately 300 students with hearing loss and other auditory needs receive audiological support. In addition, over 1,000 students receive hearing screenings and audiological evaluations. Comprehensive hearing evaluations are provided at Stark County ESC's state-of-the-art Audiology Center located at Taft Elementary School in the Plain Local school district.
The audiology department is also an integral part of Stark County's SPEAK program (Stark Project for Educating Audition in Kids). SPEAK is an auditory-oral preschool program for children ages 3-5 who have hearing loss and desire spoken language rather than sign language as the preferred mode of communication. Children develop auditory and oral communication skills through highly specialized instruction in speech, language, and listening, while adhering to the preschool curriculum set forth by the Ohio Department of Education. With appropriate hearing aids or cochlear implants, children are taught to use residual hearing to develop spoken language. On-site audiological services are a critical component of the program, as it allows for continuous monitoring of students' hearing levels and amplification equipment.
In addition, the audiology department facilitates a teen support group for middle school and high school students with hearing loss. Hit It! (Hearing Impaired Teens Interacting Together) meets four times a year and offers a nonthreatening environment for teens who have hearing loss to learn about hearing loss, technology, coping strategies, and support in order to advocate for themselves.