As a student musician, you have the opportunity to take advantage of a holistic approach to healthcare, which includes preventative screenings, primary care and educational programming about nutrition, physical activity and stress management. In most cases, these services are offered either at the DePauw University Wellness Center or within the School of Music. Here are the offerings available to you.
DePauw Health School of Music Specialty and Wellness Clinic
DePauw Health Medical Director Dr. David Harsha has extensive experience working with individuals in the performing arts (dance, voice and instrumental). The specialty wellness clinic provides an opportunity for Dr. Harsha to care for the acute medical needs of student musicians, as well as chronic problems affecting performance. In addition, Dr. Harsha can sit down with students to have wellness discussions on how to reach peak performance.
Dr. Harsha is available to see School of Music students during weekly office hours on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Physician Office in the Athletic Training Room of the Lilly Rec Center. Appointments will be 15 minutes for one issue or 30 minutes if you have more than one issue and/or concern to discuss.
Should students need medical care outside of the DePauw Health School of Music Specialty and Wellness Clinic, the DePauw Wellness Center board certified Family Medicine physicians and Nurse Practitioner are available as well.
Hendricks Regional Health and Putnam County specialty physicians will offer additional resources should they be needed, including voice and orthopedic specialists.
To schedule an appointment, please send an email to SOMwellclinic@depauw.edu.
Hearing Screening & Auditory Health Education
Hearing is a primary tool of music professionals, yet musicians are almost four times more likely to suffer noise-induced hearing loss than others. Even more concerning, the early signs of hearing loss can be very subtle, or even confused with other medical conditions. Auditory acuity and sensitivity are especially critical for music students and professionals, and even a small deficit in this area can detract from a musician’s practice and performance.
Every new music student can receive a baseline hearing evaluation complete with audiometric testing by a certified healthcare professional. This initial audiogram provides a benchmark comparison for any future evaluations, enabling physicians to accurately assess potential hearing changes or concerns.
This painless screening will usually take about 20 minutes or less from start to finish. A Wellness Center staff member will ask you to fill out a health history, and will ask you some questions about your medical status. Next, they will look into your ears with an otoscope to check for anything in the ear canal that might affect the test results. Lastly, they will conduct a test to assess whether you have any hearing loss in either ear.
Physical Health & Injury Prevention
Musicians can be at higher risk of overuse injuries due to the nature of the body positioning required by music professionals and students during practice and performance. Our team of healthcare providers emphasizes injury prevention techniques, with special focus on the upper extremities and spine. To further promote a culture of injury prevention, Hendricks Regional Health physical and occupational therapists work with faculty and staff to perform ergonomic assessments throughout the School of Music.
If you experience an injury, you will be assessed by an orthopedic physician for treatment and follow-up. If you need physical therapy care, services are available on-site at the DePauw University campus.
Vocal Screening & Education
A baseline voice evaluation is an important part of the wellness plan for student or professional vocalists. All student vocalists can take advantage of this opportunity, which includes an interview with a trained speech language pathologist specializing in identifying and treating vocal pathologies. Lifestyle behaviors and habits are discussed and analyzed, while valuable information to help maximize vocal potential while limiting overuse injury is provided. Results will be compiled into a readable report for you, your professors, and your parents.
If ordered by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT), a non-invasive procedure called videostroboscopy may be performed as well. This test evaluates and diagnoses voice-related issues, and involves video recording the vocal cords while speaking or singing. These vocal cord vibrations are reviewed for any abnormal patterns.
The test begins with a small scope being placed in the mouth by a trained Hendricks Regional Health speech language pathologist. The therapist will ask you to make a variety of sounds, as well as speak and sing as you normally would. Your vocal cords will be displayed on a computer monitor throughout the procedure and recorded, allowing for real-time playback for discussion with the student.
After the test, the speech language pathologist will talk with you about your results, showing you various images from the recording to help illustrate this feedback. Together, you will discuss what the results mean, providing valuable information about your personal vocal health. If you bring a flash drive with you to your appointment, you will be able to take your video recorded vocal cords with you!
Education About Alcohol & Drug Use
Alcohol and/or drug use can have a devastating impact on the ability to practice and perform musically. Student musicians will receive educational opportunities and materials to make healthy choices regarding their lifestyle including alcohol and other drugs.
All students have access to an onsite Wellness Center staffed by a healthcare team utilizing the latest technology in electronic medical records. The Wellness Center team understands the unique needs of student musicians, which is why this information is a part of the students’ health history. This ensures every healthcare professional caring for the student knows they are a musician, leading to a customized treatment plan and rapid referral to specialty care when needed. Visit DePauwHealth.org/Schedule or call (765) 658-4555 to make an appointment in the DePauw Health Wellness Center.