Speech-Language Therapist and Audiologist

Audiology entails the diagnosis of hearing problems, fitting of hearing aids and therapy for patients with impaired hearing. Therapy is aimed at improving language, speech and lip-reading abilities as well as listening disabilities, and also the treatment of persons with cochlear implants. 

Speech and language therapists  help babies, children and adults to overcome or reduce their communication disorders. 

Another related career is that of the speech pathologist - they specialise in communication problems related to hearing disabilities.



Audiology: This entails the diagnoses of hearing problems, fitting of hearing aids and therapy for patients with impaired hearing. Therapy is aimed at improving language, speech and lip-reading abilities as well as listening disabilities and also the treatment of persons with cochlear implants. Audiologists work directly with people, often children and the elderly, investigating problems with patients’ hearing and balance and developing methods of correcting them. To diagnose neurological diseases they make use of certain techniques and specialised equipment. They study problem cases found during routine tests and carry out further investigations. 

Audiologists have to work with medical and scientific staff to develop and assess new hearing aids and equipment for people with hearing impairments. They have to adjust and calibrate equipment used for testing. They may also be responsible for managing a team of biomedical scientists and other support staff such as medical technologists, laboratory assistants and clerical assistants.  They also may conduct research.

Speech language therapy entails the assessment and remediation of speech disorders e.g. articulation problems, stuttering, cleft lip and palate, delayed language development and problems after a stroke. Depending on the cause of the disorder, speech-language therapists and audiologists may work individually or as a team with one or more of the following: medical doctors or specialists, psychologists, physiotherapists, social workers, educationalists and occupational therapists. Once the problem has been identified, an individual programme is worked out and in many cases the involvement of the family of the patient is included in the therapy.

Speech pathologists plan and implement prevention or rehabilitation services, including hearing aid selection and orientation, counselling, auditory training, lip reading, language rehabilitation, speech conversation and other treatment programmes.  They may refer the patient to a physician or surgeon if medical treatment is found to be necessary.  They provide resources and information to patients and their families, listen to the patient concerned and assess and diagnose communication problems.

A treatment plan is devised, coordinated, developed and applied in order to work on the communication problem of the patient.  They use books, computers and other equipment to help people communicate and they compose written and oral reports about the client and the treatment progress.


Personal Requirements

  • desire to help others
  • able to get along well with others
  • warmth, caring and empathy for people
  • tactful and able to communicate well
  • emotionally stable and mature
  • patient and sensitive to the needs of others
  • ability to remain objective
  • responsible and leadership ability
  • able to work independently
  • willingness to do research and to contribute new information


How to Enter

School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course 
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course 

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements. 

Compulsory Subjects: None 
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences.


What to Study

Degree: BA or BSc with suitable subjects such as Audiology or Speech and Hearing Therapy- Wits, UCT, UP, UL, UKZN.

Diploma: N.Dip: Speech Therapy and Audiology (Community Work) 

Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is mandatory for this occupation. Consult the HPCSA website for the most up-to-date information relating to accredited qualifications and registration requirements. This information can be found in the relevant sections under the Professional Board for Speech Language and Hearing Professions.


Employment

  • Department of Education 
  • University speech and hearing clinics 
  • Special schools 
  • Audiology departments in hospitals and clinics 
  • Medical practitioners 
  • Industries 
  • Defence force 
  • Universities 
  • Self-employment, with private practice.


Further Information

South African Speech, Language and Hearing Association
P O Box 10813
Linton Grange, 6015
Tel: 0861 113 297
www.saslha.co.za

The Head of the Department
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology
University of Pretoria, 0002
Tel: (012) 420-2357


Getting Started

  • read up about speech, hearing and language problems
  • arrange to speak to a speech therapist about this type of career.


Programmes by Study Institutions

Bursaries


Related Occupations


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