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November 18, 2011

ULM Kitty DeGree Speech and Hearing Center offers valuable services to community

Neatly placed children’s toys, books and magazines line the shelves in the lobby of the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Kitty DeGree Speech and Hearing Center, providing a welcoming and calming atmosphere for all those who enter its doors.

On the surface, one might assess the lobby’s appearance as a place for children but the plethora of services offered by the center is intended for both children and adults.

Located on the first floor of Sugar Hall, this state-of-the-art center is a tribute to Kitty DeGree for her generous financial support of the center and her true understanding of its mission, since she herself was diagnosed with hearing loss as a young adult.

“I know the value of the facility,” said Kitty DeGree. “You have to be hearing impaired to know how frustrating it is, and so this facility can be very helpful to those individuals.”

At more than 5,000-square feet, the new center, which opened in 2009, is a milestone for the campus.

It offers individual treatment rooms, each with a dedicated observation room equipped with a two-way intercom system, providing a much-needed expansion for ULM students to receive a top-notch clinical education, in a top-notch facility, under the guidance of excellent faculty and staff. 

According to Dr. Johanna Boult and Sarah Hayes, the masters students are making waves. The program is proud of some of its largest numbers to date with nearly 45 enrolled who are serving in two on-campus clinics and 45 off-campus clinical sites within the last year.

Boult, assistant professor and head of the department of Speech-Language Pathology, along with Sarah Hayes, clinical coordinator, have helped shape and create a promising program that services a variety of disorders, no matter a person’s age or financial situation.

“Most of our clients are children,” said Hayes. “They come in from 4-6 p.m., making our daytime hours open for many adults who are able to come in during those times.”

The center is currently looking to expand its offerings to the adult population in need of services.

There is a window of opportunity during the early daytime hours for the center to accept new clients. Clients are admitted at the start of each new semester and are placed and scheduled based on student schedules.

“We’re lucky to do what we do,” explained Boult. “I get to satisfy my love of language, communication and joy for helping people.”

Treating disorders, teaching vocal hygiene, conducting screenings, and educating patients, the students, faculty and staff are moving forward and reaching out to the community, offering their services.

According to Hayes, no client pays more than $10 an hour for services, and a sliding scale is utilized for payment.

For more information about the Kitty DeGree Speech and Hearing Center and the services offered, contact Sarah Hayes at 318-342-1395 or

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