The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology delivers graduate education and research studies into the area of human hearing loss and communication. The Department has a close relationship with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and its clinics and with The Bionics Institute.
The Department has an intake of up to 50 audiology and 50 speech pathology students per annum, who complete a two year graduate professional program at the Masters degree level. The Department has an international reputation for its pioneering research into Cochlear Implants and also undertakes basic research into hearing and speech science. The Department is a core party in the Co-operative Research Centre for Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid Innovation. The staff working in the Department number over 60, depending on the funding available in a particular year.
The Department has developed to be a leading international player in hearing research, largely due to its role in the development and improvement of cochlear implants and their application. The cochlear implant now provides hearing to over 100,000 completely or profoundly deaf people in over 60 countries around the world.
There is also an increasing role in clinical audiology research in other fields such as vestibular pathologies and paediatric management.
The Department runs the only training course for the audiology profession in Victoria. The Master of Clinical Audiology has grown by a factor of three over the last 12 years in terms of students and staff, largely due to the growth and increasing demand for audiological services in the community. This demand is likely to increase in the medium term and the need to accommodate additional audiology students in years to come has led to the relocation of the teaching component of the department to new facilities in Swanston St.
The Department manages all audiology services within the hospital and the precinct (approximately 20,000 patient services per annum). The key personnel coordinating the major clinical areas are either University staff members (Richard Dowell, Gary Rance, Angela Marshall) or closely linked with the University teaching and research (Rod Hollow, Dominic Power, Jaime Leigh, Alison Hennessy). This involvement with the clinical services is vital for both the clinical teaching in audiology and the research
All of the functions mentioned above that give the University Department its strong national and international reputation are dependent on the activities and support of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. This is not only through direct funding of research staff, but also through the provision of infrastructure and the access to clinical services and patients which is vital to the teaching and research.
The Department is a core member of The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre and the two share the state-of-the-art Swanston Street facilities.