Audiology is a branch of science that studies hearing, balance, and related disorders. Audiologists treat those with hearing loss and proactively prevent related damage. By employing various testing strategies, audiologists aim to determine whether someone has normal sensitivity to sounds.
Audiology is a tricky profession to summarise in a just a few short lines. If you like a challenge, want to put your knowledge to good use and enjoy working with people of all ages then this may well be the career for you. Audiology professionals can work in a variety of settings including hospitals and private practice; they carry out a wide range of duties including assessment and rehabilitation of people with hearing loss or balance disorders.
Audiology is a challenging and expanding field involving the study of hearing and balance. As a healthcare profession, audiology also involves assessment, management and therapeutic rehabilitation of people with hearing and balance problems, and associated disorders. This work involves patients of all ages, from newborn babies and children to working adults and elderly people.
New and exciting opportunities exist in this expanding field. Audiology is a fast-evolving and varied discipline. Individuals with an interest in biological sciences, psychology, physics and electronics, as well as speech and language development, may find that audiology has a lot to offer them. Many audiologists work in multidisciplinary teams, frequently liaising with medical, education and research professionals. A desire to work with and help people is essential and forms an important component of both training and the job.
Employment opportunities are available both in the NHS and the private sector.
In addition you should have evidence of ability to effectively work with people of all ages, particularly the elderly and young children.
You can enter a career in audiology with a variety of qualifications from GCSEs (or equivalent level-2 qualification) to a relevant honours degree.
You’ll usually need the equivalent of three GCSEs at grade C or above to enter a role as a newborn hearing screener. It can be advantageous to have a nursery nursing or child-care related qualification, such as an NNEB, BTEC or NVQ. There are sometimes apprenticeships available in newborn hearing screening. However, each employer will indicate its requirements in the person specification of the job vacancy when advertised. Additionally, you need to have confident baby-handling skills, good interpersonal and communication skills, basic computer skills, an ability to manage your own workload, be able to work as part of a team and be self-motivated.
Foundation degree / Diploma in Higher Education in Hearing Aid Audiology (undergraduate diploma)
This type of qualification involves working as a trainee while completing the course. See the careers section on http://www.bshaa.com for more information. Graduates are eligible to register to work as a Hearing Aid Dispenser with the HCPC on completion. This course requires employment in the right healthcare context with access to patients/clients as well as supervision from a registered audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.
A-levels or equivalent qualifications
You’ll typically need at least two if not three A2 or A-levels including science subjects and a good spread of GCSEs at A-C grade to enter as a healthcare science practitioner. Entry is through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) by taking an accredited BSc degree in healthcare science (audiology).
You can apply for a place specialising in neurosensory sciences on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme. Specifically, you must have a 1st or 2.1 either in an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree in a pure or applied science subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying.
If you have a 2.2 honours degree or better in any subject, you will also be considered if you have a higher degree that is relevant to the specialism for which you are applying.
Because of the extensive variation in degrees available it isn’t possible to provide a definitive list of relevant degrees for entry to the STP. For STP positions in the physiological sciences (which include audiology), the most commonly accepted degrees will be in physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology, sports science (if there is significant scientific content).
For all candidates, evidence of research experience (e.g. in the form of a higher degree or equivalent evidence of scientific and academic capability) is considered desirable.
You need to be sure that you’ve reviewed the job description and person specification for the training (on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website). You then need to be sure to match the skills and knowledge required to the content of your degree and the specialism you wish to apply for.
For full details of entry requirements for the STP, including qualifications, scientific skills, transferable skills and physical requirements, please see the person specification on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website.
As an experienced clinical scientist
With experience as a registered clinical scientist, you can apply for Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST)
Find out more about the training you’ll receive and registration for a career in audiology.
The courses below allow graduates from related honours degrees the opportunity to study Audiology.
MSc Clinical Science (STP)
See http://www.networks.nhs.uk/nhs-networks/msc-framework-curricula/stp/accredited-msc-clinical-science-programmes-for-stp-v.2 for more information.
There are other MSc Audiology pre-registration options available as well at:
If you are interested in pursuing research in Audiology we would recommend that you consider the PhD and Clinical Doctorate programmes offered at most of the universities offering Audiology programmes, as well as the MRC Institute for Hearing Research http://www.ihr.mrc.ac.uk/pages/postgraduates/2015/projects. Also see the Modernising Scientific Careers section of this website for more information on the Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST) programme.
Qualified audiologists who are interested in furthering their knowledge and skills are advised to review the postgraduate courses offered at the individual universities. Most courses offer modules on a standalone basis, as part of CPD and the BAA Higher Training Scheme (HTS). Modules and courses range from being delivered completely online to some with attendance on campus.