Search
How Speech Pathologists, Audiologists Work with Aging Patients

How Speech Pathologists, Audiologists Work with Aging Patients

Of the many types of healthcare practitioners who care for the elderly, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists may have the greatest potential to actually improve the quality of life for older Americans. SLPs, who evaluate and treat speech, language and swallowing disorders, and audiologists, who identify and treat hearing and balance disorders, can help restore a person's fundamental ability to communicate.

"We can give elderly clients hope," says Donna Geffner, PhD, who is licensed and certified in both audiology and speech-language pathology and is director of the graduate programs and the Speech and Hearing Center at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York.

Many age-related conditions, like Alzheimer's disease, strokes and hearing loss, are expected to become more prevalent as the country's population ages. Indeed, the government projects the number of people 65 and older will nearly double between 2005 and 2030, to 71.5 million. The speech-language pathology and audiology professions are taking steps to prepare for this great gray wave.

In their graduate programs, most SLPs, who are required to have a master's degree, complete several geriatric-themed courses, including counseling and adult neurological disorders, Geffner says. Audiologists, who also must hold a master's degree but will be required to have a doctorate by 2012, are also trained to counsel older adults and their families about hearing loss.

SLPs and audiologists must have a strong understanding of the aging process and recognize the adjustments, such as speaking slower, that may be needed to work effectively with elderly clients, Geffner says.

Keeping Up with Advancing Techniques, Technologies

Both audiology and speech-language pathology are dynamic, evolving professions, Geffner says. SLPs must continually adopt new techniques and technologies to address the communication and swallowing disorders of elderly clients who've had strokes, for example, or to train the families of Alzheimer's patients to communicate effectively with relatives suffering from dementia and impaired memories.

Audiologists must constantly stay abreast of the latest and greatest amplification devices available for fitting and dispensing. "Hearing aids as we know them today won't look the same in five or 10 years," says audiologist Richard Gans, PhD, president of the American Academy of Audiology. "We're going to see big technological breakthroughs."

Combining the scientific and interpersonal aspects of audiology is rewarding, Gans says, especially in working with older Americans. "People look at hearing loss as a sign of weakness or of getting older," he says. "Some clients will be 90 years old and tell you they're not old enough for a hearing aid, or that they don't want to spend the money they were planning on leaving their kids. But what if they can't communicate with their kids for the last 10 years of their life?" The stigma attached to wearing hearing aids has lessened in recent decades and may diminish further as the devices become smaller and less obtrusive, Gans adds.

Besides fitting, dispensing and providing follow-up care for hearing-aid users, audiologists also help diagnose and treat balance disorders. About 50 percent of all accidental deaths in people older than 65 are due to balance-related falls, and most balance disorders are related to an inner-ear dysfunction, says Gans, who is also founder and executive director of the American Institute of Balance, a balance-disorders treatment center in Seminole, Florida.

Bettering Patients' Outlook on Life

Audiologists and SLPs work with clients of all ages, but it's the expected needs of aging Americans that should fuel steady growth in both professions through 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For professionals interested in helping older Americans communicate effectively despite obstacles, speech-language pathology and audiology are fulfilling career choices. "We can help improve not only a client's quality of life, but their whole outlook on life as well," Geffner says.

Latest Jobs

Openet Telecom Inc.
Posted: 10/23/2014
Reston, VA, 20190
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 10/23/2014
New York, NY, 10017
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 10/23/2014
New York, NY, 10017
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 10/23/2014
Deerfield, IL, 60015
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 10/23/2014
Deerfield, IL, 60015

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.65.72-220
eTrustLogo