With the growing trend of using technology to help with speech therapy, one often wonders if there is any real need for audiologists and speech therapists. Even though the use of technology is encouraging and helpful, there will always be a need for humans to facilitate the care.
What’s the Difference?
Speech therapists and audiologists are sometimes confused as being the same thing, and they aren’t. Here is what each position specializes in:
- Audiologists – work with people who have some, or complete, hearing loss, and balance issues.
- Speech therapists – work with individuals to overcome speech issues due to childhood diseases, development issues, or adults with health issues that result in trouble with speech
While they are different, they often team up for children and adults who need both to overcome their issues.
How Will Audiology Grow?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022, there will be a 34% increase in the audiology field. In 2013, the median annual income is $69,700. Combine that with a relatively low-stress occupation and younger people are gravitating to the field. But why is there such a high estimated growth? Because our population is much larger and aging quickly. It doesn’t mean that audiologists will work primarily with the elderly, though We are rapidly reproducing. and with that comes increased chances of a need for audiology in younger generations.
Will Speech Therapy See the Same Growth?
The short answer is, yes! The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that we will see almost 29,000 positions opening up between now and 2024. The unemployment rate amongst speech therapists is typically less than 2%, which means the estimate is a sure sign of growth. Combined with a median salary of $73,000, it becomes a very attractive field to join when you want to help people who need this type of care. Whereas audiology can be a little bit limiting in who they work with, speech therapy works with a wide variety of individuals with an even wider variety of needs. And just like their audiology partners, part of the reason for this increase estimate is due to our aging population. Work with children will increase because we have improved our screening techniques to combat speech issues earlier in age and faster.
Whenever we see a technological boom, people begin to panic. They worry about job loss and in some more extreme cases, the idea that robots will replace humans in the workforce. However, people are needed to extend proper care to the young and old. Sure, they facilitate the usage of technology and work in conjunction with technology to make their job a little bit easier—but nothing beats having a compassionate person helping you, or your child, every step of the way.