By Laide Abass
Experts in Speech Pathology and Audiology have Stressed the need for the modest effort to reinforce the need for better hearing and betterspeech to African States and also intensifying the quest for Promoting proper identification and diagnosis of communication for everyone who is a hearing or speech patient as well as sensitizing the public and the government to promote
The experts made the submission at the Speech Pathologists and Audiologists Association in Nigeria (SPAAN) tagged:-2018 SPAAN Conference with the theme :-”Better Hearing, Better Speech” held at the University Ibadan, Conference Centre, Ibadan, Nigeria, under the auspices of Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan Nigeria.
Prof. Akeem Olawale Lasisi, Chief Medical Director, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State, in his paper Presentation entitled:- Overcoming the Policy, Manpower & Infrastructural Deficit for Better Hearing, Better Speech in Nigeria, suggested that to overcome auditory and Speech Impairment in Nigeria, and to ensure recognition of the professions (Audiology and Speech Pathology) in the health sector, as well as in Nigeria.
Also, in his paper presentation, Prof. Yemisi Bola Amusa, From Department of Otolaryngology, College of Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria, entitled “Audiology and Speech Therapy Practice in Nigeria: The Past, Present and the Future,” It was observed that: There has to be an increase in the area of training and research in both Audiology and Speech therapy in Nigeria, to cope with the demands of the 21st Century practice, but more still needs to be done in compliance with the global Practice.
In his own paper presentation, Dr. Ayo Osisanya, from Audiology and Speech Pathology Unit, Department of Special Education, University Ibadan, Nigeria and Social Secretary, Speech Pathologists and Audiologists Association in Nigeria (SPAAN), noted that there is a need for the Establishment/ introduction of Audiology and Speech Pathology Training Programmes both at undergraduate and post graduate levels in all the Universities in Nigeria.
On the way out towards better Hearing, Better Speech, the experts noted that, Neonatal (Infant) Hearing Screening should be made compulsory in Nigeria, as, this should be done within 72 hours at delivery of a child, because this mechanism, will facilitate better hearing, better speech.
Also, pre-employment Hearing screening should be made compulsory, as condition for employment in any industry /firm in Nigeria, as, cases of communication difficulties should be reported early, for appropriate remediation. Also, a worthwhile scheme of service should be put in place by the government in Nigeria, to encourage the Audiologists and Speech Pathologists/Therapists who are practicing in the country.
The experts also asserted that only certified Audiologists/ Speech Pathologists by the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board of Nigeria (MRTB) should be allowed to practice the profession, therefore, Non-Audiologists and Non Speech Pathologists should not be allowed nor encouraged to practice the profession. In his keynote address, Dr. Neal Boafo, from School of Biological and Allied Health Sciences, University of Ghana, said, Audiology has some connections to World War II, though audiometers had been around in the 1920s, as, audiology emerged as a profession in the mid-1940s when W/War II soldiers returned home with noise induced hearing loss.
Dr. Boafo added that as experts (audiologists and speech therapists), we must do more than clinical assessments and evaluations, as, persons with communication disorders must feel our impact not only in the clinic, but in the community in which they live. Dr. Boafo further hinted that the public does not know about auditory accessibility and how to attain it, so, it is the experts responsibility to show them how-as- entertainment places should be encouraged to have assistance hearing devices for the hard of hearing – we must fight for reduction of taxes on devices for persons with Communication Disability – Having educated the public on the hazards of loud noise, now, we must engage the regulators to enforce by-laws on noise pollution.
The president, SPAAN, Professor Julius Abiola Ademokoya added that quality speaking begets quality hearing, provided the speaker speaks well and the hearer hears well.
- Dr Laide Abass, Faculty of Education, (Special Education
Unit)U. I. Ibadan Nigeria