Kathryn Crawford, Ph.D. student, Occupational and Environmental Health
Protects musicians' hearing
• Hometown: Berwyn, Pennsylvania
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Renée Anthony, Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, Occupational and Environmental Health, May 2020
• Please describe your research: I work with music instructors to find ways to conserve their hearing without compromising their ability to teach and perform. Musicians typically experience highly variable levels of sound, some of which are loud enough to cause hearing damage. Because there is a lot of variability in their sound exposure, and they need to hear well at all times, we need to find the right combination of protection strategies (earplugs, acoustic treatments, schedule adjustments) that can be used to reduce their risk of hearing loss.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Hearing loss from excessive sound exposure is irreversible but it is entirely preventable. It’s important to understand the risk of hearing loss, and to identify effective strategies for reducing that risk.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? When I came to Iowa for my MS, my advisor hired me as research assistant to work in the lab in the summer before my first semester even started. I spent about a month before classes writing SOPs for new lab equipment, conducting literature reviews, and assisting with aerosol measurement experiments. It was a great way to become familiar with the research process and the laboratory environment.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? I am grateful for the opportunities and support here to pursue my own research projects. I’ve gained experience writing research proposals and grants, collecting primary data, and working with study participants. Those are valuable experiences, and to be able to graduate having already been successful in those areas is something I am proud of. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity with my research to collaborate with different disciplines like Audiology and Community and Behavioral Health. Learning how to develop those research partnerships has also made me more successful.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I am planning to pursue an academic career and will be applying for faculty or post-doc positions in Public Health programs where I can continue to teach and do research. I believe everyone deserves to come home from work safe and healthy and I want to continue to work with others to ensure that happens.
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