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Every hospital should have Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist

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Disabled Population in India as per census 2011 (2016 updated) – In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are disabled which is 2.21% of the total population. Among the disabled population 56% (1.5 Cr) are males and 44% (1.18 Cr ) are females. In the total population, the male and female population are 51% and 49% respectively.

Majority (69%) of the disabled population resided in rural areas (1.86 Cr disabled persons in rural areas and 0.81 Cr in urban areas). In the case of total population also, 69% are from rural areas while the remaining 31% resided in urban areas. 

The number of disabled persons is highest in the age group 10-19 years (46.2 lakhs). 17% of the disabled population is in the age group 10-19 years and 16% of them are in the age group 20-29 years. Elderly (60+ years) disabled constituted 21% of the total disabled at all India level.

The report said that while India has made significant improvement in primary education enrolment, the figures for children with disabilities are staggering. Out of 2.9 million children with disabilities in India, 990,000 children aged 6 to 14 years (34 percent) are out of school.

The percentages are even higher among children with intellectual disabilities (48 percent), speech impairments (36 percent) and multiple disabilities (59 percent) according to the census report(2000- 2012). 

Main reason for this is not screening/assessing the babies properly during each follow-up and also doesn't having a profession who can handle speech and hearing impaired childrens. This is why every hospitals should have Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist. 

Who are Speech-Language Pathologists?
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are  specialized knowledge, skills, and clinical training in assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders, and are integral members of interdisciplinary teams.

Role and Responsibilities of Speech Language Pathologist:

A speech-language pathologist can assess and treat all aspects of a person's communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing, conversation skills, non-verbal communication), as well as cognitive or thinking skills that may interfere with a person's ability to communicate effectively (e.g., attention, memory, organization, reasoning, judgment). The SLP can also assess, manage, and treat swallowing/feeding difficulties (dysphagia) to ensure that the person is on a safe diet and not at increased risk for choking food/liquid build-up in the lungs. 

Therapy may include:

• providing the patient with specific therapies to improve his/her communication and/or
swallowing skills, including practice
opportunities in a variety of settings and

• educating the patient and caregivers on patient abilities and challenges, and various strategies to improve function and help compensate for difficulties implementing augmentative/alternative communication strategies and/or devices. 

• recommending strategies or changes for the home and/or work environment to enhance patient ability to participate. 

Who are Audiologists? 

Audiologists provide professional and personalized services to improve persons' involvement in important activities in their lives and better their quality of life. Audiologists' services can help with managing issues effecting hearing and balance, including:

Hearing Loss – Evaluate and treat hearing, balance, and tinnitus disorders.

Hearing Aids/Assistive Technology – Select and custom-fit hearing aids and assistive technology.

Dizziness and Balance – Evaluate and treat balance problems.

Hearing Screening and Testing – Screen individuals to identify possible hearing disorders. Testing will confirm if a hearing loss is present and determine the kind and degree of loss.

Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention – Explain how to protect hearing from the effects of noise.

Tinnitus – Advise people about how to treat and cope with ringing in the ears.

Communication tips – Provide tips to improve communication in daily living.

Role and Responsibilities of Audiologist:

Assessment and Identification:

Identify, test, diagnose, and manage disorders of human hearing, balance, and tinnitus; interpret test results of behavioral and objective measures

Counsel patients about hearing health and the possible need for treatment/management
Assess the candidacy of persons with hearing loss for hearing aids and cochlear implants and provide fitting, programming, and audiologic rehabilitation to ensure the best possible outcomes
Supervise and conduct newborn hearing screening programs
Evaluate and manage children and adults with central auditory processing disorders
Screen speech-language, the use of sign language, and other factors affecting communication function for the purposes of audiologic evaluation and/or initial identification of individuals with other communication disorders. 

Management and Treatment

Perform otoscopic examination of ear canals and ear drum, manage the removal of excessive cerumen, and make ear impressions
Recommend and provide hearing aid selection, fitting, and programming
Recommend and provide hearing assistive technology systems (HATS)
Recommend and provide audiologic rehabilitation—including speech reading, communication management, language development, and auditory skill development
Perform assessment and nonmedical management of tinnitus
Counsel and educate patients and families/caregivers on the psychosocial adjustments of hearing loss. 

Prevention and Education

Collaborate with educators regarding communication management, educational implications of hearing loss, educational programming, classroom acoustics, and large-area amplification systems for children with hearing loss
Educate the public on the prevention of hearing loss, tinnitus, and falls
Consult about accessibility for persons with hearing loss in public and private buildings, programs, and services
Implement and/or coordinate community, school-based, or occupational hearing screening and conservation programs
Participate in the development of professional and technical standards
Demonstrate the value of audiologic services by measuring functional outcomes, consumer satisfaction, and effectiveness of treatment
Supervise audiology assistants who provide support functions to the practice of audiology. 


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