What Is Speech & Hearing Sciences?
Speech and hearing sciences includes the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology.
Audiologists assess, treat, and rehabilitate people with hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists also select, fit, and dispense amplification systems such as hearing aids and assistive listening devices, and they participate in the pre-operative assessment and post-operative management of individuals with cochlear implants.
Educational audiologists work with school-age children and adolescents with hearing impairment and auditory processing disorders to improve academic success. They also prevent hearing loss through providing and fitting protective devices, consultation on the effects of noise on hearing, and consumer education.
Audiologists also do research on hearing loss, tinnitus (i.e., ringing in the ears or head), and balance system dysfunction, and they can serve as expert witnesses in litigation related to their areas of expertise.
Speech-language pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists) assess speech and language development and treat language, speech, and voice disorders. They also assess swallowing function and help people with swallowing disorders.
Speech-language pathologists evaluate and train individuals in the use of computerized communication devices (i.e., augmentative and alternative communication systems), they help non-native English speakers modify their accents, and they partner with teachers to improve oral and written language skills of students with learning disabilities and related disorders.
SHS at WSU
The course of study emphasizes the physiological, neurological, behavioral, and psychological dimensions of normal development, fundamental communication processes, and disorders of communication.
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Rachel Tapper Zijlstra
B.A. '94, M.A. '98 in speech-language pathology