Shifting and Transforming the Practice of Audiology

By: Dhanashree Pillay  

Science and Religion have been debated for centuries. Assessments and management have narrowly focused on the medical model, without considering the patient holistically. Patient care operates both in the temporal and the spiritual spheres. Inclusive models of patient care are becoming favourable as the diversity of patients and health practitioners becomes more evident. We live in a diverse spiritual society therefore care must shift to include spirituality, religion and alternative beliefs. Data was collected from three studies. Narratives of 7 participants, who reported a supernatural healing of a sensorineural hearing loss, were recorded during an interview. Twenty-five Muslim adults completed a questionnaire pertaining to their perceptions and experiences with Hakeems. Four Hakeems were interviewed to obtain their perceptions of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Forty-one audiologists were required to complete a questionnaire relating to their perspectives of traditional healers. Results: Grief, distress and confusion are evident emotions that occurred after the diagnosis of a hearing loss. The belief in God, prayer and supernatural occurrences of healing were key concepts within these studies. In study 1 and 2, patients frequently used religious and spiritual care in conjunction with medical care. The audiologists in South Africa are willing to collaborate with traditional healers to share information however there was uncertainty with regards to the methods for the incorporation of spirituality and beliefs into the audiological practices. Conclusion: There is a need to shift and transform audiological practices to ensure that integrated and holistic care is provided to dynamic and diverse populations.

Spirituality, Healing
Religious Community and Socialization
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dhanashree Pillay

Lecturer, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
South Africa

I am an Audiologist who works works as a Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. My research and academic work focuses on Alternative Healing Practices, Sports Audiology and Rural studies.