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About the Clinic

Our new Audiology Clinic on the San Francisco Campus along with anticipated collaborations with many Northern California medical and audiology centers will provide student clinical experiences.

The San Francisco Clinic will begin seeing patients in October 2014 and will provide residents throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with audiology and hearing aid services through patient visits and community outreach events featuring:

  • Comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitation services
  • State of the art diagnostic equipment
  • Use of current diagnostic and rehabilitation procedures
  • State of the art hearing instruments and fitting
  • Expertise of educational and professional training of staff
  • Ease of scheduling, central location
  • Competitive pricing

The Clinic will specialize in the diagnostic assessment and management of hearing and balance disorders in individuals of all ages using behavioral and electrophysiological methods.

  • Direct clinical services will be provided to individuals in the community who are at risk for hearing loss tinnitus, balance disorders, and central auditory processing disorders.
  • Habilitation and rehabilitation treatment plans will be developed and implemented.
  • Comprehensive hearing aid evaluation, selection, fitting and counseling, with conventional and digital technologies, will be available.
  • Recommendations and fittings will be made for FM systems and other alerting devices.

Community Impact
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services an estimated 28 million Americans are hearing impaired. In the United States alone one out of twelve 30-year-olds is already hearing impaired, and one out of eight 50-year-olds suffers from hearing loss. More than one million "Baby Boomers" have identified themselves as experiencing some degree of hearing loss. There are more people ages 45 to 65 with hearing loss (10 million) than there are people over age 65 (nine million).

One-third of all hearing loss can be attributed to the increase of noise at work, during recreation and products used during both activities. Due to this increase of noise exposure people are experiencing changes in their hearing at a much younger age than they did 30 years ago.

Studies indicate that the hearing loss of the post war generation (Baby Boomers) will be worse than predecessors. The National Health Interview Survey reported that 44.5 out 1,000 people between the ages of 18 to 44 had hearing problems. One in three over the age of 65, and half of those over age 85, are hearing impaired.

The new Audiology Clinic will be located within the South of Market (SOMA) district of San Francisco, bordering on the Tenderloin, North of Market Area and Embarcadero. The SOMA district contains many smaller neighborhoods such as South Park, Yerba Buena, South Beach, and Financial District South (part of the Financial District), and overlaps with several others, notably Mission Bay and the Mission District. Residents of the greater SOMA area and those living in large urban areas seek services within 15 minutes of their home. This is noteworthy since most residents walk or take public transportation.

The Clinic, located in the center of a densely populated neighborhood, has the potential of being a significant provider of hearing health care in the community, considering the senior population and the certain growth in number of seniors likely to reside with the greater SOMA area. By 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030 will be made up of senior citizens with a large percentage of this population living in the west and south. It can be expected that the greater SOMA area will show a growth beyond the current 13.5 percent senior population.

As the United States faces the largest demographic shift in its history, the increase of adults entering retirement age (70 million in the next 25 years) will be dramatic. This age group is the largest user of audiological and hearing aid services.

In spite of these staggering numbers, only 20 percent of those identified with hearing loss are using hearing instruments. The average age of the first-time hearing aid user is 69. Hearing aid use in both ears has increased from 23 percent in 1983 to 71 percent in 2001. This represents a significant number of hearing impaired consumers who may not be receiving full benefit from amplification.

Older consumers, 45 and older, are the single most powerful economic force in America. In 2001, these consumers spent $2.28 trillion of the total consumer spending ($4.36 trillion). This is a result of the increasing population of the older consumer. Market share has increased in every category, with the largest increase in the categories of housing and health care.

In addition the development of advanced technology is making it possible to identify hearing loss within a few days of birth. Recent legislation in the state of California mandates newborn hearing screening in hospitals receiving funding from California Children's Services. Data from California is consistent with national statistics showing one in 1,000 children will be born with profound hearing loss and another two to three in 1,000 will have some other degree of hearing loss that requires intervention. Hearing loss is the most common birth defect.

These figures do not include children with unilateral hearing loss or those who, due to some other medical condition, will develop hearing loss at a later time in childhood. There is a great need for additional newborn hearing screening diagnostic sites in the San Francisco area. In addition, education audiology services to support school-age children with hearing loss in school settings are greatly needed.