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Application of ASLP in space science

Application of ASLP in space science

Introduction to Application of ASLP in space science – When NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] is mentioned, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe the space race, Astronauts, or going back to the moon. Recently, various researchers discovered that acoustics, Audiology, and hearing conservation do play important roles in Astronaut performance and health. Astronauts are susceptible to hearing loss and balance issues due to travel in the space shuttle, and the microgravity conditions found in space.

Microgravity refers to a very small gravitational force. Life on Earth has evolved to function best under Earth’s gravity, and it is possible that the absence of gravity affects all human organ systems. The body is very adaptable and can acclimatize to a change in gravitational environment, but these physiological adaptations may have pathological implications or result in a decline in fitness, putting a space traveler’s ability to function properly upon return to Earth at risk.

Physiological Hazardous associated with space travel

Physiological Hazardous associated with space travel

Scope of practice for Audiologist and Speech and language therapist

ASLP [Audiologist and speech-language pathologist] has played an important role in space science for training hearing conservation and speech modulation for Astronauts in various centers worldwide.  An audiologist’s scope includes vestibular evaluation and management as they can treat balance-related problems in Astronauts subjected to zero gravity in space.

ASLP plays an essential role in astronaut selection criteria, by conducting balance tests and audiological exams. In addition to this ASLP advises in other mission-specific training.  Preflight training and assessment are an important part of the mission. It includes various tests such as motion sickness tests and ocular-vestibular integration tests. Audiologists participate significantly in all of the mentioned tests in collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Once astronauts return after a mission, they have motion sickness, coordination, balance problems, and speech clarity issues that might take days or even weeks to correct.

In this case, post-flight rehabilitation therapy is crucial, and ASLP can help. Over the years, research in this area and current technological advancements have opened avenues for Audiologists to assist Astronauts on their space journeys as part of their healthcare profession. It is also important to note that further training is required for an audiologist to be prepared with the appropriate information to support and aid Astronauts throughout their space journey.

Pradnya Ghoble
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