“I volunteered at the Special Olympics two summers ago and it was a fantastic experience! My favorite part was getting to talk with each of the athletes and ask them what the best part of their day was. I remember one athlete who grinned ear to ear and showed off all his medals from the race he participated in earlier. It was such a unique experience to work with this patient population and underscored the impact we can have as audiologists to serve those in our community. I would definitely do it again!”
Third Year AuD Student
University of Texas at Dallas
Special Olympics is the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual disabilities, providing free health screenings and health information to Special Olympics athletes at local, regional, and world games. Volunteers at Special Olympics Healthy Hearing (SOHH) events perform hearing screenings on the Special Olympics athletes, educate the athletes about their hearing, and make medical referrals when appropriate. The program has also been successful in providing many of those identified hearing impaired athletes with hearing aids. The Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) established a partnership with the SOHH program in 2010. The intention of the SAA is to promote SOHH and encourage SAA chapters to connect with the Healthy Hearing Clinical Directors in their states. SAA chapters are able to volunteer their time and expertise before and during SOHH events, and provide support for SOHH services to Special Olympics athletes. Watch the video below for more information on the structure of the SAA/SOHH partnership and how to get involved! SAA chapters can connect with SOHH by emailing their main office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAA chapters are also encouraged to ensure that these remarkable athletes receive the best audiological care by volunteering their time and services at SOHH events in their area. Check out the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Resources web page to access news, forms, and items to help you get involved. Together, students and volunteer professionals can make a difference in these athletes’ lives!