Call for Research on the Efficacy of Canine-Assisted Therapy in a Clinical Audiology Setting
Matofsky, Katie L.
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The effects of canine-assisted therapy (CAT) have been studied extensively in the field of speech-language pathology; yet, they have only been explored anecdotally in the field of audiology, despite the significant overlap between the two disciplines. The aim of this study was to investigate how CAT research in speech-language pathology and anecdotal evidence of CAT in audiology can support future empirical research into CAT in a clinical audiology setting. The author conducted a non-systematic literature review of the benefits and barriers of CAT using peer-reviewed studies from online databases accessed from the Yeshiva University Libraries website, Google Scholar, and national veterinary and government agency webpages. The author found that 1) CAT presents minimal risk for human and animal participants, 2) the human-animal bond contributes to CAT increasing the calmness and communication of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and older adults with dementia, 3) there is a significant number of children with ASD and older adults with dementia who also have hearing loss (HL), 4) CAT has decreased the anxiety of a pediatric audiology patient with ASD and HL and an elderly patient with HL, anecdotally, and 5) patients respond well when clinicians express that their recommendations are based on relevant empirical evidence, and when clinicians present the evidence in the patients’ preferred communication style. The non-systematic investigation into the use of CAT in a clinical audiology setting is worthwhile because it has been successfully implemented anecdotally, but patients may respond even better if CAT in audiology was research-based. The author recommends that future study into the uses of CAT in a clinical audiology setting focus on the potential calming benefits of CAT for adolescents with ASD and HL and older adults with early-stage dementia and HL, and that researchers are mindful of terminological issues associated with CAT when they conduct these studies.
Senior honor's thesis / Open access
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