New Zealand speech language therapists’ knowledge of hearing loss and perspectives on collaboration with the audiology profession. (2020)
Type of ContentElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsCollinson, Ryahshow all
Aims: The current study investigated New Zealand-based speech-language therapists’ knowledge of hearing loss and perspectives on collaboration with the audiology profession. The study also aimed to identify therapists perceived needs for professional development around hearing loss and management. Further, barriers to successful collaboration were identified, including potential ways to overcome these in the future.
Methods: The first phase of the study included the development of an anonymous online questionnaire involving 48 questions. The questionnaire included three sections which focused on (a) demographics (b) knowledge of hearing loss, assessment and hearing devices and (c) perspectives on collaboration. Questions were developed based on studies previously completed by Coombe (2018); Kobylas (2016); Lass et al. (1985); Lass et al. (1989) and Lass et al. (1990). Study information and a link to the questionnaire were circulated to practising speech-language therapists. The survey required 15-20-minutes to complete.
The second phase of the study involved conducting semi-structured interviews with four New Zealand speech-language therapists’ working in a range of clinical settings. Interview questions were developed from the questionnaire findings. For example, participants’ experiences and future opportunities for collaboration with audiologists. The interviews ranged between 30 minutes to one hour. Each interview was transcribed verbatim and transcripts then thematically analysed.
Results: The questionnaire was fully completed by 25 New Zealand speech therapists. The results from the questionnaire demonstrated that respondents had a broad understanding of aspects of audiology, such as hearing anatomy, types of hearing loss and knowledge of audiological assessment and exposure to hearing technology. All participants had engaged in audiology-related training. However, aspects of audiology, such as hearing technology and the referral pathway to audiology services were identified as areas for future professional development. Most questionnaire participants reported no prior collaborative experience with audiologists. This was further supported by interview data which indicated that a lack of understanding of the audiologist role and appropriate referral pathways were influencing opportunities for collaboration.
Conclusions: Overall, both the questionnaire respondents and interviewees identified that there is a need for professional development to support understanding of components of the audiology field. The findings demonstrate that speech-language therapists could benefit from increased access to audiology-related resources and professional development to enhance inter-professional collaboration in order to ensure that children and adults with speech, language and hearing needs, receive the best possible services.