Audiologist Provides Free Hearing Tests To Local Police

HOUMA, La. (AP) — "I have a certain education and training, so why not share it with people who do so much for us?" Erin Rushing of Houma says.

From the loud oil rigs to the pops of hunting rifles to the roar of the crowd at a Saints game, there's a lot of noise in south Louisiana.

Local audiologist Erin Rushing is on a mission to spread awareness about the dangers of hearing loss and how it can lead to serious health problems.

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"We have a lot of noise exposure in our community," the Houma-based hearing specialist said. "There are a lot of hunters. I know a lot of weapons are fired without hearing protection. A lot of people test their vision every year or do annual blood work, but people don't test their hearing annually. My little mission is to help change that."

Rushing, who owns Comprehensive Hearing Solutions, has taken it upon herself to provide free hearing screenings for local law-enforcement officers. In October, she administered hearing tests to the Houma Police Department and last week she screened members of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office.

"It's hard for me to put into words why I volunteered to screen the officers and personnel at the Houma Police Department and Lafourche Sheriff's Office," she said. "It's just the way I was raised. When God provides you the abilities and opportunities to help others, you just do it.

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"These people give of themselves day in and day out to keep us safe. We've all had emergency situations where a law-enforcement officer provided quick action, comfort or simply a helping hand. What these ladies and gentlemen do day after day, year after year, for our community, most of us could not do for one hour."

Rushing earned a doctorate of audiology at LSU Health Sciences Center in 2012 and has participated in hearing research at Vanderbilt University and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. She practiced in Metairie and Covington for five years before moving to Thibodaux with her family in 2016 to launch her own practice.

"I have a certain education and training, so why not share it with people who do so much for us?" Rushing said. "Police can't say, 'Hold on, bad guy, so I can put my ear plugs in.' Most of those guys are proud of what they are and don't complain. They suck it up as they go, so you have to ask them to have their hearing checked."

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Healthy hearing is a necessity, especially for those who participate in emergency situations, Rushing said.

"We know that noise exposure and other hazards can affect hearing and cause ringing in the ears," she said. "And we are finding connections between hearing loss and other health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. The least I can do is share my time and expertise with the law enforcement officers that serve me every day."

Rushing also provides hearing screenings for senior citizens and veterans and plans to screen other emergency responders such as firefighters in the future.

"It's an honor to be able to serve those who serve me daily," she said.

-By Dan Copp, The Courier 

Information from: The Courier,

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