Audiology, Speech & Language Pathology
Audiology Speech and language therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of hearing, speech, language, communication and swallowing in children and adults. Audiology, Speech and Language Therapists (ASLTs) are allied health professionals. They work closely with ENT physicians, parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors.
Audiology is the branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. Its practitioners, who treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage are audiologists. Employing various testing strategies (e.g. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, videonystagmography, and electrophysiologic tests), audiology aims to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range, and if not, which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If an audiologist determines that a hearing loss or vestibular abnormality is present he or she will provide recommendations to a patient as to what options (e.g. hearing aid,cochlear implants, surgery, appropriate medical referrals) may be of assistance.
The utility of estibular rehabilitation or more generally, balance rehabilitation is of vestibular rehabilitation in a variety of conditions associated with dizziness. It is an individualized balance retraining exercise program. The retraining teaches compensations that may decrease dizziness, improve balance, and improve general activity levels. These therapies are administeredby by physicians, audiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and technicians.There are also some nearly ‘do-it-yourself’ protocols but a situation where there is an overseeing physician and a therapist, is optimal.
Speech & Language
Speech-language pathology professionals (speech-language pathologists (SLPs), or informally speech therapists) specialize in communication disorders as well as swallowing disorders. The main components of speech production include: phonation, the process of sound production; resonance; intonation, the variation of pitch; and voice, including aeromechanical components of respiration. The main components of language include: phonology, the manipulation of sound according to the rules of the language; morphology, the understanding and use of the minimal units of meaning; syntax, the grammar rules for constructing sentences in language; semantics, the interpretation of meaning from the signs or symbols of communication and pragmatics, the social aspects of communication.
Swallowing, known scientifically as deglutition, is the process in the human or animal body that makes something pass from the mouth, to the pharynx, and into the esophagus, while shutting the epiglottis. If this fails and the object goes through the trachea, then choking or pulmonary aspiration can occur. In the human body it is controlled by the swallowing reflex. The speech language pathologist typically participates in the evaluation and treatment of dysphagia in the oral and pharyngeal stages of swallow. Bedside examination and a modified barium swallow permit examination of the neuromuscular components of the swallow and place the patient at minimal risk of aspiration. Compensatory and therapeutic procedures are then implemented to improve oropharyngeal function.