If your child appears to have problems hearing and speaking, you are going to see a lot of professionals. Two of those professionals are audiologists and speech language pathologists. While it may at first appear that audiologists and speech language pathologists do the same thing, they are actually two very different professions. They may work hand in hand, but they cover different things.
Speech Language Pathologist
An SLP is concerned with problems with language, as well as other physical issues having to do with the mouth, such as swallowing or tongue problems. Physical issues can affect a person's capability to produce speech. However, the primary job of an SLP is to get to the root of speech problems and figure out a way to get their patients speaking again. An SLP can work with children as well as people who have lost language ability due to stroke, accident, or other causes. Not only will the SLP focus on any physical problems your child may have, they will also work on any psychological issues that may block your child from speaking.
An example of how an SLP can help with psychological problems is if your child has selective mutism. Your child can speak, but only with certain trusted people, like a parent. However, they won't speak to anyone else. A speech language pathologist can work with your child to see what is causing them to be stressed out enough that they have chosen not to speak and to help your child work up to speaking to everyone.
An audiologist is concerned with the ear and hearing. They are generally the first step to figuring out what hearing and/or speech problems your child has, especially if your child hasn't yet spoken or has distorted speech. Both of those things are signs of hearing issues. What the audiologist will do is conduct a series of tests. Those tests will start out with examining the ear itself. The audiologist will check your child's eardrum to make sure that it is whole and unscarred. They will also check to see if there is fluid behind the ear. After doing those things, the audiologist will move on to checking your child's hearing.
There are several tests that they will run. They can range from tests using tuning forks placed on the bone near your child's ear to tests that are conducted in sound-proofed rooms, using headphones. Those tests will test what pitches and frequencies your child may or may not hear. The reason that they are conducted in sound-proof rooms is so that no outside sounds distract anyone during the testing. After all the testing, the audiologist may suggest that your child sees a speech language pathologist in order to help get past any speech problems.
It often takes both an audiologist and an SLP to help your child, if they are having problems with speaking. The audiologist will get to the root of any hearing problems, while the SLP helps your child learn to speak or speak better. For more information, contact a business such as Central Bucks Hearing Center.