Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist in Medical Industry

Firstly, audiology and speech-language pathology(therapy) are two separate careers but are closely related as they have the same starting point regarding educational qualification. Audiologists study and treat balance and hearing related problems whereas speech-language therapists work with people of all ages to treat many types of communication and swallowing-related problems. I had good exposure to these fields at quite a young age, as my sister was hearing and speech impaired. Personal motivations aside, I decided to choose this career path as it offers avenues to work in multiple capacities - with schools, hospitals, private therapy as well as hearing aid companies. I would also recommend this career path for people who want to serve in the healthcare industry, while also maintaining a good work-life balance.

After finishing my schooling, I pursued a Bachelor's in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology from the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) in Kerala, India. This prestigious institution is governed by the Central Govt. of India, and to secure an admission one would need to take the common entrance test (now known as NEET) for all medical professionals. An additional college-specific entrance test might be needed if a student applies through the central Govt. quota. I followed my 4 years Bachelor's degree with a 2 years Master's in the same discipline from NISH as well. While my Bachelor's helped me gain a strong foundational understanding, my Master's allowed me to specialize and go deeper in my areas of interest.

As an Audiologist today, I treat patients with different degrees of hearing and balance related problems. I also diagnose people with hearing loss and help with the management of hearing loss by working with ENT specialists (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors) as well as hearing-aid centres. As a Speech Language Therapist, I treat different speech-related disorders such as stammering, loss of voice and speech difficulties in children due to autism /other learning disabilities. I work with patients of all ages and every day is a different experience as I might end up working in either in a school, hospital, hearing-aid centre or my clinic! New rules like compulsory hearing screening for all babies, has led to an increase in awareness and demand for professionals with my background in India. Over the past few years, audiology/speech-language pathology has also become an attractive career opportunity worldwide.

Based on conversation in January 2019
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