Sertoma hears St. Paul Lutheran’s call for new audiometers

St. Paul Lutheran's school nurse, Elen Stark tests out the new audiometer on building and grounds supervisor Mark Weihert.

NEW ULM – Monday morning, St. Paul Lutheran School Building and Grounds Supervisor Mark Weihert became the first individual tested on new audiometer equipment donated by New Ulm’s Sertoma Club.

The test was performed by the school’s nurse Elen Stark and she confirmed Weihert had some hearing loss in the higher level frequency. Weihert already knew that. The real test was to show whether the new equipment worked and it passed with flying colors.

An audiometer is an instrument designed to measure different aspects of a person’s ability to hear. The equipment is able to determine a person’s ability to hear certain frequencies. This is invaluable equipment for testing student hearing and until Sertoma’s recent donation, St. Paul’s has needed to borrow equipment.

“For many years to conduct screenings for hearing we needed to borrow equipment from other schools,” St. Paul Lutheran principal Peter Markgraf said. This meant any hearing test needed to be coordinated with another school. Markgraf said last fall it was decided the school needed its own audiometers. The cost for a new audiometer is $1,100 each.

Markgraf reached out to the Sertoma Club of New Ulm to determine if they could help provide the equipment.

St. Paul Lutheran staff and members of New Ulm Sertoma Club celebrate the donation of new audiometer equipmen. (L to R):tPrincipal Peter Markgraft, school nurse Elen Stark, Sertoma Club members Scott Waldner and Randy Horejsi.

Sertoma Club is an international organization that helps meet the needs of the community through volunteer services. New Ulm Sertoma Club member Scott Waldner said from the start, the organization has been dedicated to hearing health. Providing audiometers to the school fits perfectly with the club’s mission.

Club member Randy Horejsi agreed it was an easy request to say ‘yes’ to. Once the request came before Sertoma it was immediately approved.

“It feels nice to be help,” Horejsi said.

Sertoma was able to provide St. Paul Lutheran with four audiometers, which will be used to provide hearing tests for all 350 students attending the school.

Stark said every year the school conducts a mass screening for hearing in the fall. However, with the new equipment, the school will also be able to conduct individual screenings throughout the year.

One of the four new audiometers St. Paul Lutheran received through a Sertoma Club donation.

“If a teacher or parent suspects a student has a hearing problem, we can test immediately,” Stark said. “We’re so grateful for Sertoma for providing the equipment.”

St. Paul Lutheran is not required to test the hearing of all its students, but it is a priority for school staff. Principal Markgraf stressed the value of promptly screening all students.

“If a student cannot hear, they cannot learn,” he said.


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