Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45

Career Opportunity in Speech & Hearing Science

Speech disorders can arise in various parts of the nervous system and muscles and other apparatus involved in speech. These may lead to inability to communicate effectively. Some of these disorders however are disturbances of language rather than of speech since they result from an impaired ability to understand or to form words in the language centres of the brain rather than from any defect in the apparatus of speech production. People with speech and language disorders can be helped by speech therapy. Hearing impairment (deafness) may be complete or partial inability to hear.


Total deafness is usually congenital. Mutism ? refusal or inability to speak ? is a symptom off profound congenital deafness. Rehabilitation professionals in this field help people with three inter-related problems of speaking, language, and hearing. There are three types of professionals ? speech and language therapists, audiologists, and teachers for the hearing impaired. Speech therapists diagnose and evaluate the individuals, speech and language abilities and plan treatment programmes to restore or develop patient?s communication skill. Audiologists are concerned with the prevention of hearing impairment.


Speech and hearing science is the study of normal functioning and disorders of the auditory system, the speech mechanism, and language processing. It is a diverse field with connections to a number of other disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, psychology, linguistics, medicine, and education. Students pursuing a major in speech and hearing science are introduced both to basic and applied research and to clinical applications. Ultimate career paths can include speech science, hearing

Science, speech-language pathology, or audiology.


Hearing, speech, and language scientists study such topics as sound localization, speech perception, and language learning in both normal and impaired persons. Their research may be basic in nature or may be more applied, as in studies of the effectiveness

of clinical hearing aids or voice therapies.


Speech-language pathology and audiology are concerned with evaluation, treatment, and research in human communication and its disorders. Speech-language pathologists assess and treat persons of all ages with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. They also may work with people who have oral motor problems that cause eating and swallowing difficulties. For individuals with little or no speech, speech-language pathologists select alternative communication systems, including automated devices and sign language, and teach their use.


Audiologists specialize in prevention, identification, assessment, and rehabilitation of hearing disorders. When a hearing loss exists, they determine the nature and extent of the hearing loss and recommend appropriate treatment, including hearing aids or other assistive devices. Audiologists also test noise levels in workplaces and conduct hearing protection programs.




Career Opportunities:


Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are professionals who work closely with teachers, physicians, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors, and other members of an interdisciplinary team, but they are autonomous and do not work under direct medical supervision. They provide professional services in a wide range of facilities, including public and private schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, community and university clinics, private practice offices, state and local health departments, home care, adult day care centers, centers for the developmentally disabled, research laboratories, and industries.


It is important to note that for professional certification as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, a master?s degree is necessary. All states that license these professionals require master?s-level training. In addition, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) requires both completion of a master?s degree and a year of clinical internship (Clinical Fellowship Year) for the certificate of clinical competence (CCC) in speech language pathology or audiology.


Career opportunities for persons with a bachelor?s degree in speech and hearing science are comparable to those for students with undergraduate degrees in related fields, such as psychology, sociology, linguistics, or other liberal arts.


There are two types of courses: (i) courses for speech and language therapists and audiologists, (ii) courses for preparing teachers for the hearing handicapped. Courses for speech and language therapists and audiologists are offered at three levels- diploma, graduate and postgraduate. Entry requirement for the diploma course of one-year duration is a pass in 10+2 examination in Science subjects. The qualification requirement for the first degree programme of three-year duration is also a pass in 10+2 examination with biology is open to degree holders preferably in speech, hearing and audio logy. Two premier institutions in this field are (1) Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (AYJNIHH) (KC Marg, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West), Mumbai-400050), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; and (2) All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (Manasagangotri, Mysore-570006) established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.


AYJNIHH offers the largest number of courses for speech language therapist and audiologist and teachers for the hearing handicapped both at its main campus in Mumbai and other centers in several cities. The All India Institute of Speech and Hearing is the only institution to offer a PhD programme in speech & hearing. Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute (Porur, Chennai-600116), a deemed university has introduced a course of four-year duration (including one-year of internship) leading to the award of B.Sc. (Speech Language and Hearing Sciences). Although the number of institutions offering these courses are small the nomenclatures of the award vary, e.g., B.Sc. (Audiology and Speech), B.Sc. (Hearing Language and Speech), B.Sc. (Audiology and Speech Rehabilitation), B.Sc. (Speech Language & Hearing Sciences), BASLP (Bachelor in Speech Language Pathology).


A total number of 13 institutions offer the B.Sc. course. Of these, only four, viz., AYTNIHH, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Institute of Health Science, and All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, have introduced M.Sc. course. Diploma course is offered by four institutions, vi., AYJNIHH, J M Institute of Speech and Hearing, (Inder Puri, Shastri Nagar, Patna-800023), Medical Trust Hospital (MG Road, Cochin-582016) and the Gujarat University (entry requirement is a B.Sc. degree).

B.Sc. (S&H) and M.Sc. (S&H) Courses

  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi-110029 ? (Deemed University) B.Sc. (S&H)
  • Royal Seema Seva Samithi, No. 9, Old Hazur Office Building, Tirupati-517501 ? B.Sc. (HLS)
  • Sweekar Rehabilitation Institute for Handicapped, Upkar Circle, Picket, Secunderabad-500003 ? B.Sc. (HLS)
  • Indian Institute of Health Education, Health Institute Road, Near Central Jail, Beur, Patna- B.Sc. (HLS)
  • Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012 ? Deemed University ? B.Sc. (Audiology & Speech Therapy) also M.Sc. (S&H)
  • Institute of Speech & Hearing, Hennur Road, Bangalore-560084 ? B.Sc. (HLS)
  • All India Institute for Speech & Hearing, Manasgangotri, Mysore-B.Sc. (S&H) also M.Sc. (S&H), PhD (S&H)
  • Institute of Health Sciences, A.B. Shetty Circle, Mangalore-575001 ? B.Sc. (HLS) also M.Sc. (S&H)
  • Topiwal National Medical College, Dr A.L. Nair Road, Mumbai-400008
  • RMS College of paramedical Sciences, Pondicherry ? B.Sc. (HLS)
  • Sri Rama Chandra Medical College and Research Institute, Porur, Chennai-600116 ? (Deemed University) B.Sc. (Speech Language and Hearing Sciences)
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal-576119 ? (Deemed University) B.Sc. (Speech, Language and Hearing).


There are two types of courses (called special education) for preparing teachers for the hearing impaired: (1) Degree course (B.Ed-Hearing Impaired) (also M.Ed ? Hearing Impaired), and Diploma in Special Education ? Hearing Impaired (DSE-Hearing Impaired). The degree course of one-year duration is open to graduates while the entry requirement for diploma course, also of one-year duration, is a pass in 10+2 examination.


B.Ed (H1) is offered by three institutions ? AYJNIHH (at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Calcutta), AWH College of Education (Rehmani School for Handicapped, P.O. Medical College, Calicut-673048), and Shrud B.Ed (H1) College (805 Smruti Bhandarkar Road, Pune-411004). Diploma Courses are offered by more than 25 institutions.


Diploma in Special Education (Hearing Handicapped)

  • Sweekar Rehabilitation Institute for Handicapped, (Secunderabad-500003); Helen Keller?s School for the Deaf, (Cuddapah-516001)
  • Training Centre for Teachers of Visually Handicapped, (Hyderabad-500020)
  • Shri K L Institute for the Deaf, (Bhavnagar-390018)
  • Training College for Teachers of the Deaf & Blind, (Ahmedabad-380009)
  • Karnataka Handicapped Welfare Association, (Bangalore-560075)
  • C S I Training Centre for Teachers of the Hearing Impaired, (Kerala-679513)
  • The School for the Deaf, Enathu, (Kerala-691526)
  • The Educational Audiology & Research Centre School for Deaf, (Mumbai-400006)
  • The Central Institute of Teachers of the Deaf (Mumbai-400011);
  • Society for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped, (Miraj-416410)
  • V R Ruia Mook Badhir Vidyalaya (Pune-30)
  • Training Centre for Teachers of the Deaf (Bhubaneshwar-751012)
  • The Clarke School for the Deaf, (Chennai-600004)
  • U P Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (Allahabad-211002).



Hearing and speech scientists are found primarily in universities, research institutions, government agencies, and industry. Audiologists have multiple career options. They can work in government hospitals, health departments of government and government agencies. Private hospitals, health centers, clinics and nursing homes also offer employment opportunities to audiologists. Job opportunities are also available to audiologists in community care centers, community clinics, rehabilitation centers, centre for disabled, nursing care facilities and clinics run by college and universities. Audiologists also can work privately to provide services to schools, hospitals and nursing homes. Teaching in medical or para-medical colleges is also an option available to audiologists. Annual income of audiologists is quite promising. They may start from a monthly salary of Rs 8,000-10,000. In private hospitals and clinics the pay scale is higher, which may start from Rs.15, 000. An audiologist can reach to the monthly salary of Rs 25,000-30,000 within 4-5 years of experiences.


According to a 2003 survey by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the median annual salary for speech-language pathologists is $52,600; for audiologists, it is $55,000. Salaries for speech scientists and hearing scientists are quite variable, depending on the employment setting, and can range from $40,000 to more than $60,000 for master?s and Ph.D. graduates.


(The author is working as lecturer in G.L.A College, Nilamber Pitamber University Daltonganj, Jharkhand)

Dr. (Mrs.) Sunita Singh
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