The human body is one of the most complex machines that were ever created. Indeed, such is the anatomy involved that hundreds of small, moving parts work in perfect unison in order to ensure the smooth functioning of our body. To keep our body alive, a number of organs are required. To keep us moving, again a number of other organs come into the picture. While some of the human organs are external, there are others that are internal. Now, other than basic breathing, pumping of blood and movement, what sets human beings a notch above all other animals is our ability to think. All the processing and thinking that goes about in the brain is possible only due to the signals received from the five sense organs.
Now, not everyone is blessed with all the five sense organs in order. The most common form of disability caused due to impairment of sense organs is that of hearing disorder. This type of impairment may be caused due to some form of some birth defect, diseases and accidents.
In most of the cases, these types of disorders are curable (or at least the magnitude of the same can be reduced) by proper therapy. This type of therapy is carried out by diagnosing and treating the various hearing disorders. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are responsible for the same.
They are also responsible for taking preventive measures to prevent further speech delay in some patients. Thus, despite its challenging nature, this is one of the most fulfilling professions that one can opt for. Read on to know more about the same.
o Skills Required
Although this is a scientific line of work, merely having scientific aptitude does not suffice. To be able to do well in this profession, you have to understand what your clients (who are lesser abled than you are) go through. For that, you need to be highly compassionate and have good communication and interpersonal skills.
As speech therapists often work in teams, you should be able to coordinate with others and work efficiently even under stressful conditions. It is good observation skills coupled with the ability to work hard that will take you places in the world of audiology and speech-language pathology.
o Eligibility For Admission
This course is available both at the bachelor's level as well as in the master's. For the bachelor's course, one needs to have passed their class 12 board examination with at least 55% marks. They must have studied physics, chemistry and biology in the same. There are a number of institutes that offer bachelor's degrees and diplomas in this regard.
o Types Of Jobs
Having a bachelor's degree in audiology and speech-language pathology makes you eligible for a number of career options. You may choose to work in a rehabilitation centre where you deal specifically with the cases of people who have lost their hearing as a result of some accident.
If you work in a hospital, it may be in the ENT, paediatrics or neurology department. The ENT department is the one which has the largest team of speech therapists in any hospital. Mental health institutions and centres for relief and rehabilitation also employ speech therapists in large numbers.
In each of the aforementioned cases, although the technical specification remains unaltered, the nature of work varies.
o Work Life
Unlike most jobs in the world of healthcare, here professionals rarely have to work in shifts. Most of the counselling that happens in the world of speech therapy happens in the day hours. However, people might be required to work in shifts.
Another side of the story here is the fact that you do not need to cater to emergency situations and most of the work here is that where improvement is expected in the long run. This brings down the pressure, making it one of the most pleasurable jobs in the medical world.
The gift of hearing is so precious that people are ready to shell out any amount of money for the same. That is why this makes for one of the most coveted professions in the western world. There the average salary of a speech therapist is close to $60,000.
In the Indian context, the starting salary in government organisations is Rs 5000 per month. Over time, the value rises to up to Rs 40,000 per month. Professionals in this field can also choose to freelance or work with private clients in their off time.
This paves the way for an individual to have a consistent source of additional income and thereby, improve their overall standard of living by leaps and bounds.
o Scope Of Employment
This is one field where there is equal scope of employment in both the government as well as the private sectors. Government hospitals employ such people to assist with the treatment of people who have had a hearing impairment as a result of some accident or injury.
Private clinics provide this service to patients who have had some incident that led them to trauma or small children who need counselling in order to make the most of their hearing abilities. The hearing aid industry is another major recruiter.
If someone is not interested to work under someone else and wants to set up a speech therapy clinic of their own, there is ample scope of career growth there as well. Because of the sheer variety and quantity of jobs in this field, qualified professionals rarely face a dearth of job opportunities.
o Career Growth
Most freshers in this field begin their career as general audiologists or speech pathology assistants and then move on to become speech pathology service managers or clinical speech audiology assistants. Those with an inclination towards research can move on to become research assistants or research audiologist after due experience in this field.
After having obtained the basic experience of a general audiologist for a couple of years, one can go for required certifications and thereby, become certified hearing aid audiologist.