Audiology, Deaf Education, Speech and Hearing

Professions focused on aiding those with hearing and speech impediments include audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech, language and hearing scientist.

Audiologists are experts in the non-medical management of the auditory and balance systems. They specialize in the study of normal and impaired hearing, prevention of hearing loss, identification and assessment of hearing and balance problems, and rehabilitation of persons with hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists frequently work with other medical specialists, speech-language pathologists, educators, engineers, scientists, and allied health professionals and technicians. Working with the full range of human communication and its disorders, speech-language pathologists evaluate and diagnose speech, language, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders and treat speech, language, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Speech-language pathologists often work as part of a team, which may include teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors and others. Corporate speech-language pathologists also work with employees to improve communication with their customers. Providing the research on which clinicians base their methodology, speech, language and hearing scientists investigate the biological, physical, and physiological processes of communication, explore the impact of psychological, social, and other factors on communication disorders, develop evidence-based methods for diagnosing and treating individuals with speech, language and hearing problems, as well as collaborate with related professionals (such as engineers, physicians, dentists, educators) to develop a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating individuals with speech, voice, language and hearing problems. As with audiologists and speech-language pathologists, research scientists are educated in their specific area of interest. However, while clinicians can practice with a master's degree or clinical doctorate, scientists must earn a research doctorate.

Professional Opportunities

Audiologists may:

  • Plan and execute programs of hearing conservation for workers.
  • Manage agencies, clinics or private practices
  • Engage in research to enhance knowledge about normal hearing, and the evaluation and treatment of hearing disorders
  • Design hearing instruments and testing equipment

Speech-language pathologists may:

  • Manage agencies, clinics, organizations, or private practices.
  • Engage in research to enhance knowledge about human communication processes.
  • Supervise and direct public school or clinical programs.
  • Develop new methods and products to evaluate and treat speech-language disorders.

Speech Hearing Scientists may:

  • Prepare future professionals and scientists in colleges and universities.
  • Conduct research at or consult with universities, hospitals, government health agencies and industries.

Exposure to the Field, Shadowing, Volunteering

Students considering a career in communication sciences and disorders should consider whether they envision working as a clinician with certain populations such as children, adolescents, or adults with a particular disorder, working in health administration settings, or as a research scientist. It is important to investigate each of these options before embarking on an educational pathway.



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