Hearing and Speech Center Marks 50 Years of Service

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Hearing and Speech Center celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The public is invited to an Open House from 1:30-4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 21 at the Center, located at 1600 Peyton Manning Pass.

Founded in 1953, the center has served more than 40,000 clients during its 50-year history. Originally funded through the State Health Department as the East Tennessee Hearing and Speech Center, the center merged with the University of Tennessee department of audiology and speech pathology in 1966.

“We serve the entire age range, from birth to senior citizens,” said Dr. Ilsa Schwarz, head of the audiology and speech pathology department. “Our services include neonatal hearing screening, classroom programs for children with speech and language disorders and hearing impairments, programs for school-age children and adults with communication problems including stuttering, reading problems, speech disorders, and language disabilities, assessment and treatment for adults who speak English as a second language, and hospital based services including assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders.”

Among the many services offered is the professional voice clinic, where singers, actors and other professionals with vocal problems may come for evaluation and treatment. Faculty and students will be available to conduct tours of the voice clinic, as well as tours and demonstrations of faculty laboratories, preschool classrooms, the stuttering clinic and audiology clinics.

“In addition to the many services we provide to the people of East Tennessee, the Hearing and Speech Center is also a laboratory for the university-s speech pathology and audiology students,” Schwarz said. “We are one of the largest university-affiliated clinics in the United States.”

The department of audiology and speech pathology currently has 59 full time faculty and staff members. There are approximately 125 undergraduate majors and 68 graduate students.