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Better Hearing and Speech Month: Should I see an audiologist or a speech-language pathologist?
Story Number is : 051517103
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, a time to raise awareness about communication disorders and available treatment options that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems speaking, understanding or hearing. At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, experts in both audiology and speech-language pathology are available, but patients often wonder who they should see.

Audiologists are trained to prevent, identify, diagnose and treat hearing, balance and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. “A big part of my job is to perform comprehensive audiological evaluations and match patients with the hearing aid that’s best for them based on their wants and needs,” says BWFH audiologist Marcy Chant, AuD, CCC-A.

According to Chant, patients who answer “yes” to any of the following questions may benefit from a visit to an audiologist:

• Do people seem to mumble or speak more softly than they used to?
• Do you feel tired after a long conversation?
• Do you miss key words in a sentence or need people to repeat themselves?
• When you are in a group or in a noisy restaurant, is it difficult to follow the conversation?
• Do you need to turn up the volume on the TV?
• Has someone close to you mentioned that you might have hearing loss?

Speech-language pathologists are trained to help prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. “Here at BWFH, we have a strong outpatient pediatric referral base that people may not be aware of. Children between the ages of 3 and 18 are referred to our outpatient department for delayed language, speech or social concerns,” says BWFH speech-language pathologist Kennis Bishop, MS, CCC-SLP. “For adults, we have a wide range of services for adult swallowing, acquired speech or language, cognitive-communicative, voice or fluency impairments.”

According to Bishop, adults who develop communication or swallowing disorders, or have one of the following medical conditions, may benefit from treatment from a speech-language pathologist:

Speech Disorders

• Apraxia
• Dysarthria
• Stuttering/Dysfluency
• Voice
Language Disorders
• Aphasia
• Cognitive-communicative deficits
Medical Conditions
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Dementia
• Huntington’s Disease
• Head and/or Neck Cancer
• Right Hemisphere Brain Injury
• Stroke
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Vocal nodules or polyps

If you have trouble communicating with friends and family and think treatment from an audiologist or speech-language pathologist would improve your quality of life, the experts at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital are available to help. For an appointment with an audiologist, call 617-983-7880.For an appointment with a speech-language pathologist, call 617-983-7271.

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