Professions and Opportunities

What are speech and language pathology and audiology? 

Impairments of communication—speech, language and hearing disorders—are among the most prevalent of human disabilities and can leave myriad problems in their wake. Speech and language pathology and audiology are areas of professional specialization that focus on the prevention and treatment of communication disorders.

What do speech and language pathologists and audiologists do?

Speech and language pathologists work with children and adults in a variety of settings, including:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers

They provide diagnostic treatment services for a vast array of communication disorders, including those related to:

  • Stroke
  • Autism
  • Deafness
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Paralysis
  • Cleft palate
  • Aging

Audiologists work with people of all ages in many settings, including:

  • Private audiology practices
  • Hospitals
  • Physician's offices
  • Schools
  • Research centers

They provide services to diagnose, treat and prevent hearing loss and balance disorders. Diagnostic testing ranges from conventional behavioral tests to detailed electrophysiological procedures. Treatment services include:

  • The selection and fitting of hearing aids.
  • Determining candidacy for, programming of and rehabilitation with people who receive cochlear implants.
  • Providing aural rehabilitation services for people with any degree of hearing loss.

Prevention services include the development and evaluation of hearing conservation programs and the selection and evaluation of hearing protectors for those exposed to excessive noise.

Where do speech-language pathologists and audiologists work?

In Michigan, almost 60 percent of speech and language pathologists are employed in elementary and secondary schools. The remainder, as well as audiologists, are employed in:

  • Clinics
  • Medical and rehabilitation facilities
  • Speech and hearing centers
  • Private practice
  • Federal, state and local government or administration

For additional information about careers, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.