Infographic section, World Hearing Day
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The Profession

Approximately 12% of all South Africans are likely to present with a speech, language or hearing disorder. Communication disorders are experienced by people at any age in their lifetime.

The career of a Speech Pathologist and Audiologist is an exciting one for any individual interested in working with both adults and children who have communication difficulties. The assessment and management of communication disorders may include the client, the family, other professionals and the community. Communication disorders range from mild to severe disabilities.

Speech-language therapy addresses speech and language problems, including articulation, voice, fluency, expressive and receptive language problems, as well as feeding and swallowing problems.

Audiologists test hearing using behavioural and electrophysiological measures. They manage hearing loss with hearing aids, cochlear implants and rehabilitation. They are also active in Deafness issues and education work. Audiologists also work with associated problems such as balance disorders and central auditory processing problems.

Speech Pathologists and Audiologists are involved in various aspects of communication sciences and disorders including

  • Prevention
  • Identification
  • Assessment
  • Treatment
  • Counselling
  • Education
  • Consultation
  • Research

Speech Pathologists and Audiologists work in a variety of settings in the public and private sectors, including education and special education, hospitals, clinics, rural communities, universities, and private practices.

Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a speech-language therapist and audiologist is compulsory. Only registered clinicians are allowed to practice in the field.