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An unlikely pair….

April 20, 2012

A little while ago, I posted a blog about the professional connections between SLP and pharmacy. I recently got to thinking about the connections between speech language pathologists and another field…… engineering! This topic is particularly salient for me, as my boyfriend is currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. I have heard that engineers and SLP’s are two groups of people that usually find each other (when you think about the typical demographics of each discipline, its not hard to imagine why…) so what could be better than exploring this interdisciplinary connection? We even have our very own petroleum engineer in our program studying to be an SLP!

An obvious area of overlap is in the realm of audiology. Hearing aids and amplification devices require precision in their design, an area that a mechanical engineer might find themselves engaged in. Douglas Hart, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT is currently engaged in research and 3D modeling of a new type of hearing aid. The device is made of a fiberoptic probe wrapped in a flexible, liquid-filled pouch that would contour to the ear canal as it shifts and changes shape during normal speaking and daily activities!1

Computer and software engineers are definitely people that we will, indirectly at least, come into contact with as we pursue alternative and augmentative communication devices for our clients. Designing and programming high tech devices is a very important factor that needs to happen before we can outfit our clients with these devices, and perhaps a professional relationship between the SLP and engineer is the best way to serve this population!

A connection to biological engineering can come in the form of the palatal lifts and other prosthetics that are sometimes used as a form of intervention. Electrical and computer engineers are involved in creating the acoustic and kinematic analysis software and devices that may be used in relation to these treatments. The connections are endless!

What do you think? Are there any other disciplines you think might be connected to speech pathology besides the other rehabilitation sectors? Leave a comment below!

– Adele Courchesne

References:

1. http://engineering.mit.edu/live/news/1231-how-can-we-make-hearing-aids-work-better

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenn Fung permalink
    April 20, 2012 1:28 pm

    That petroleum engineer in your class must be really cool.

  2. Bobby permalink
    April 20, 2012 1:30 pm

    Really cool blog Adele!

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