Dr. Richard Harrell '87 owns The Hearing Clinic, Inc., which operates hearing and balance clinics throughout southwestern Virginia.
"I opened a private practice with a good friend of mine in 1985. In 1989, I took over the practice full-time," says Harrell. As a student at Radford, Harrell received his undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders and his master’s degree in audiology. "As a student, I worked in the Speech and Hearing Clinic. As a senior, I was able to participate in providing speech, language and hearing assessments for clients," says Harrell. Working hands on with patients, professors and classmates encouraged Harrell to pursue the path of teaching. He earned his doctorate from Ohio State University and followed his dream.
"From 1994 until 2000 I taught graduate classes at Radford University, focusing mainly on balance and diagnostics testing as well as hearing aid courses. I was also one of the supervisors in the clinic. I saw patients, supervised the students, and allowed them to observe me while I worked with clients. Being able to work with the students was really special, it is something I would love to do again," says Harrell.
Today, Harrell works full-time in his practice. The Hearing Clinic, Inc. has four locations in Radford, Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Salem. "My first two employees I hired were two of my graduate students I taught at Radford. Jeff Akers is still here after 14 years," says Harrell. "We do follow up evaluations for infants that do not pass their hearing examination at the hospital. If needed, we fit them for hearing aids. We also are the only clinic in southwestern Virginia that offers state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment for Tinnitus," says Harrell. The Hearing Clinic, Inc. is also the regional referral center for people with inner ear and Vestibular disorders.
Harrell encourages students to look beyond what you know as a student. "Look for opportunities in other places. Everyone should try to live and work in different environments. Venture out, look across the country and even across the world. You can always come back, but you can't always leave," says Harrell.