Audiologists work with children and adults who suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus, or have problems with balance.Job Category:
What you will do:
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- deciding on the best way to test a patient’s hearing
- adapting tests to suit the age and ability of the patient
- checking hearing, including sound level and frequency range
- investigating any related medical, physical and emotional symptoms
Once you’ve made a diagnosis, you’ll put together a rehabilitation plan, which could involve:
- assessing patients who are suitable for cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids
- producing an impression of the ear for an ear mould
- fitting hearing aids and making changes to ear moulds
- reviewing progress and making changes to the fitting
- teaching patients how to use the prescribed hearing aid
- repairing faulty hearing aids
- increasing hearing ability by using lip-reading, or other communication skills
- giving patients information and advice on how to manage their condition
- managing patients with dual sensory loss (hearing and sight) or learning disabilities.
Audiologists may also be involved in counselling clients and their families to help them adjust to hearing loss and balance disorders. Sometimes this is also done by hearing therapists.
Audiological scientists have extra responsibilities for research and development, and managing audiology services.
This usually takes around 24 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.
This will qualify you to work independently to test people’s hearing and advise and fit hearing aid devices.
You’re likely to have a:
- knowledge of psychology
- Knowledge of science
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding – a caring and supportive approach
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- excellent problem solving skills, and the ability to analyse and deal with complex situations (adaptability)
You are likely to need to:
- complete the 3-year NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) (in the UK) or equivalent in the country in which you wish to practice
- in the UK you’ll also need to register with the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP)
If you’re already a science graduate in the UK, you could join the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) and take a 3-year course in clinical science, specialising in neurosensory sciences.
To work as an audiologist in the private sector, you’ll need to:
- complete a foundation degree in audiology. In the Uk this needs to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- register with the HCPC
As you may be working with children or vulnerable adults, you are likely to need criminal or security clearance from the local authorities in the county you intend to work.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week.
You’ll most likely work in ear, nose and throat clinics, or audiology departments in hospitals.
You’ll usually be based in a consultation room at an NHS or private hospital.
Career Path & Progression:
You could go on to specialise in areas like balance rehabilitation, cochlear implants, or assisting people with learning disabilities or dual sensory loss.
With experience, you could lead a team, manage a unit, or move into a general management position in mainstream healthcare.
You could also take on a research or teaching post at a university.