Speech and Hearing Sciences

Speech and Hearing Sciences

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences (SHS) offers undergraduate students coursework and research in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, or both. Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in either area at other institutions can obtain preparation for graduate studies by completing a Minor in SHS or with an Interdisciplinary Studies Major emphasizing SHS. Because the SHS Department is small, students can receive closely mentored instruction by faculty who are senior educators and researchers in their disciplines. SHS provides students with exceptional opportunities to integrate academic information from classrooms with relevant research in laboratory and real-life clinical settings. Many SHS undergraduates function like graduate students, complete clinical observations in local private practices and hospitals, and co-author peer-reviewed publications before graduation, making them sought after by the best graduate programs in the country.

Students in audiology learn about and participate in research dealing with normally hearing individuals and persons having hearing impairments across the age spectrum from neonates in hospital well-baby and neonatal intensive care units to adults and geriatrics in private practice settings. Research and clinical work in audiology focuses on aural rehabilitation, hearing aids, diagnostic testing, newborn hearing screening, personal listening devices (e.g., iPods), outcome measures, physician outreach, and non-surgical/non antibacterial prophylaxis for acute otitis media in children. Students in speech-language pathology are fortunate to study with two of the world's leading professionals in developmental stuttering, a major focus in this area. Their research and clinical work focuses on the neurological and genetic basis of stuttering and the development of measures of and treatments for stuttering. Much of this work is federally funded and provides unique opportunities for students to learn cutting-edge diagnoses and treatments for this disorder. The faculty have developed a program of research on stuttering and its treatment using brain imaging techniques including PET, event-related fMRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, which are germinal and unique to this discipline. Other areas of teaching and research involve phonologic disorders in children; providing leadership regarding issues of research ethics, responsible conduct of research, and evidence-based practice and systematic reviews aimed at improving the research competence and opportunities for young scientists in the disciplines. Inter-campus faculty research programs with UCSB and Auburn University and the Research Imaging Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center provide unique experiences for our students to participate in weekly virtual classroom and laboratory research situations. SHS is also instrumental in running the local newborn hearing-screening program (NHSP) helping in the early detection and treatment of hearing loss.

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