A career in speech and hearing sciences

A career in speech and hearing sciences

A huge number of the 250-300 million deaf people in this world happen to be Indians; still other Indians — one out of twelve of us — have some degree of hearing loss. And besides this, a large number of Indians do have speech related problems such as stuttering, and ear-related health issues.

For a country with so many persons affected by speech and hearing problems, there are not many institutes that offer full fledged degrees in the speech and hearing sciences. The Chennai-based Madras ENT Research Foundation’s Institute of Speech and Hearing (MERF-ISH) is one of them.

Established and run by noted ENT surgeon and Padma Shri Prof Mohan Kameswaran, this institute offers several programmes in the field of audiology and speech language pathology, such as the Bachelor’s and Masters’ degree programmes in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (BASLP and MASLP programmes) in affiliation with The Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University. The programmes are recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) too.

  “Students taking up these courses can make careers as speech language pathologists, audiologists, speech and hearing scientists, in teaching institutes and as clinical specialists too. Of course, a good number begin their private practice too”, says Ranjith Rajeswaran, Principal, MERF Institute of Speech and Hearing.

 
Fellowships in Implantation Audiology

And besides doctorates, MERF also offers fellowships in implantation audiology, the highly specialised discipline by which implants help bring back hearing in even persons with 100 per cent hearing loss. Very few institutes in the world offer training in implantation audiology.

As for the BASLP programme, it is a 4-year professional degree programme with theory and practical sessions over the first three years, followed by a one-year internship. For getting admitted into BASLP, students must have completed higher secondary exams or PUC from recognised Universities in the country, with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics or Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. Admissions are granted based on the marks scored in the qualifying examination.

Meanwhile, students who have completed BASLP or B.Sc (Sp & Hg) are eligible to take up the MASLP programme. A fresh under graduate who has completed BASLP could start with a basic salary of Rs.

15-18,000 in hospitals and clinics, while a fresh post-graduate could begin with a salary of Rs.25,000 in India.

Scope for research

The institute also facilitates research projects of governmental and non-governmental organisations, both short and long term projects, and several projects have been carried out at the institute so far. MERF-ISH invites such project proposals too.

MERF-ISH has state-of-the-art facilities to support its programmes like anatomy and physiology lab, audiology lab, electro-physiology lab, electro-acoustics lab, vestibular lab, cognitive linguistic lab, speech science lab, language science lab and voice lab.

Meanwhile, the MERF hospital is known world over for its cochlear implant success and interventions in other frontier areas in speech and hearing medicine, which enables students doing their internship here to get a good learning experience. “Hostel accommodation can be arranged for students”, says Ranjith Rajeswaran. For further details, contact: +91-44-24622403/24939143 or log on to www.merfish.org

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