Areas of Study

It is not often one can say they have met an NFL player, but our audiology graduate students and football players had that exciting opportunity on November 4.

In October, retired NFL tight end Tim Wright reached out to Benjamin Harden, director of Gallaudet’s Hearing and Speech Center, about his new business venture, Dome Audio. Wright’s company makes headphones that use bone conduction and vibration to transmit sound waves — and this is where Dr. Harden saw an opportunity. Why not have Wright come to talk with Gallaudet audiology students, and also meet the football team? 

Wright was invited to campus, and upon arrival, was greeted by Harden and several people from the Office of the President. After this brief meet-and-greet, his next engagement was a meeting with the Gallaudet football team. 

Wright shared his journey from a college football player at Rutgers University, to his time with the New England Patriots, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Detroit Lions. He was a member of the Patriot’s Super Bowl XLIX team, which defeated the Seattle Seahawks in February 2015.

Wright also discussed his passion for entrepreneurship, including a barber shop business during college, and Dome Audio. Encouraging the football players to strive for their dreams every day, he shared that “Success is not owned…it is rented. [And,] rent is due every day.” 

A Q/A session, a few group photos and many selfies later, Wright visited a classroom of audiology students. He explained and demonstrated how bone conduction headphones can be made for commercial use. (Conventional headphones use air conduction.) Students tried the bone conduction technology and discussed the benefits for various users, including deaf and hard of hearing individuals. 

Once his classroom visit concluded, Wright’s last visit, in true form, was at football practice on Hotchkiss Field. After banging on the sideline drum, Wright stepped onto the field and threw around balls with the team. 

“It was a team effort to bring Tim and his crew to campus so that the audiology students had a chance to learn about new technologies, and for the football players to meet and learn from a former NFL champion,” Harden said. “This visit would not have been possible without the joint efforts of the Hearing and Speech Center, Gallaudet Athletics, football head coach Chuck Goldstein, and the President’s Office.” 

Thank you, Tim, for visiting! 

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