Audiology is a branch of science that studies normal and disordered aspects of hearing and balance system. The aim of this discipline is to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range or not. If the hearing ability is impaired, how much is the hearing impairment in terms of degree of the hearing loss, configuration of the hearing loss and type of hearing loss. It also helps to determine the probable site of lesion, lesion in the external, middle, inner ear, auditory pathway and/or the central nervous system. The information about the site of lesion helps the audiologists to decide about the rehabilitation of the individual with hearing impairment. The rehabilitation strategies include fitting of amplification devices like hearing aids, middle ear implants, bone anchored hearing aids, cochlear implants, brainstem implant. The Auditory verbal therapy is one of the rehabilitative approaches for individuals with hearing loss.
This branch of science also deals with the assessment and management of vestibular disturbance noticed in the individuals with several pathologies like Meniere’s disease, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, Vestibular Migraine, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury to mention a few. The rehabilitation strategy includes Sensory Integration balance training, Gaze stabilization, Dynamic Gait training and manoeuvres like Epley’s and Barbeques.
The assessment and rehabilitation of individuals with hearing and balance dysfunction needs a team approach. The team comprised of audiologists, speech language pathologists, paediatrician, neurologists, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, physician, ENT specialist, special educator, and dietician. The audiologists are the trained professionals who provide complete assessment and management of individuals with auditory and balance disturbances. The audiologists can work in varieties of setups, such as in hospitals, schools, industrial, rehabilitation centres, hearing aids and implant manufacturing companies, research centres, private practice, etc. The audiologists play a major role in the screening of neonates and infants for communication disorders. The audiologists also actively participate in the conservation of hearing in the individuals working in industrial setup by controlling the level of noise at the source or at the receiver end.
Some of the commonly observed hearing disorders are Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Acoustic trauma, Presbycusis, Noise-Induced Hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, Otosclerosis, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, Vestibular Migraine to mention a few.
Speech Language Pathology is the field of expertise which includes evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with communication disorders. Communication disorder affects the ability of the person to comprehend, detect, and effectively engage in discourse with others. Speech language pathology is a broad spectrum including speech, language, swallowing, cognitive impairment and voice related issues. The individual with speech and language disorder can have word finding difficulties, poor syntax, semantics and pragmatic skills. The individuals can have poor phonological awareness and poor language based literacy skills. The individuals with swallowing disorder can have structural and/or functional problem at the oral, pharyngeal and esophageal level. The individuals with cognitive impairment can have poor attention and memory skills, poor problem solving and executive functions. The individuals with voice disorders can have hoarse/ harsh/ breathy voice. The individual might also report of change in voice quality (rough, strained).
The speech and language problem can occur because of several causes, such as hearing loss, developmental delay, stroke, cleft lip and palate, cerebral palsy to mention a few. The speech language pathologists are the trained professionals who provide complete assessment and management of individuals with communication disorder. Speech language pathologists in collaboration with other professionals such as an audiologist, physician, paediatrician, physiotherapist/occupational therapist, special educator, ENT specialist, dietician help the individuals with speech and language disorders. The speech language pathologists also play a key role in improving the quality of life of individuals with Learning disability and Autism spectrum disorder by improving their pre-literacy and literacy skills. The speech language pathologists work in varieties of setups, such as in hospitals, in regular and in special schools, rehabilitation centres, research centres, private practice, etc.
Some of the commonly observed speech and language disorders are Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Specific Language Impairment, Apraxia, Aphasia, Learning disability, cleft lip, and palate, Autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Articulation disorder, Mental Retardation, Stuttering to mention a few.