My interest in Audiology rose from accompanying my mum to my younger brother audiology appointments as he is profoundly deaf. However, through researching the role of an Audiologist for my health and social care coursework, I realised how rewarding and fun the profession can be. Being born in Rochdale, a big brother to 3 younger siblings and while going through a challenging period; moving to Leicester to study Audiology was not an option. The thought of leaving my family, albeit only 3 hours away was very daunting. After much deliberation, I decided to make the big step of moving to Leicester to study audiology at De Montfort University. I believed it was the right choice to better myself and become a good role model for my siblings. One quote my mother gave that cemented my decision to move was “sometimes the most difficult decision can be the best decision”.

At the beginning of the course, it was difficult settling in a new city while learning new topics. I contemplated leaving as I could not grasp the content being taught in university and being away from my family who was going through a difficult time. Speaking to some friends and family, this was normal for a new university student to go through and advised to stay and give it till Christmas to see how I felt then.


The best decision of my life so far 

This was a life-changing decision as I began to ask the help of my lecturers who were always available to explain and answer my questions. This gave me massive confidence as I began to understand the content much more. I showed myself that genuine hard work could overcome natural ability.

In the 3rd week of university, I applied for the role of Health and Life Sciences Brand ambassador. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and believed this would help me as a person and an audiologist in interacting with different people. The role has allowed me to promote audiology at Leicester grammar school and get involved in promotional videos and photoshoots. Being engaged in DMU open days has been incredibly fun as it allows me to answer questions and concerns from parents and students who are interested in the course. Also, they can meet the lecturers and see the university which includes the new Audiology labs and equipment.

The role and Audiology course made me step out of my comfort zone and pushed me to experience different scenarios. The two years of university has been made better with friends on and away from the class.


My highlight of studying Audiology 

A highlight of my time in studying Audiology has been the work placement. I was placed in Nottingham at Ropewalk house, where I was able to shadow Audiologists for two weeks at the end of my 1st year. I observed audiologists and did Pure tone audiometry tests. I was made welcome by all the staff and enjoyed every day. This was a defining period that showed me Audiology is for me.

During my second year, I was placed in Harrogate District Hospital, where I was able to stay at home. I started in February and was there till early March until my placement had to stop due to COVID-19. Before Lockdown, my experience in Harrogate was excellent in terms of different practise procedures which are extremely helpful in broadening my clinical knowledge. I was able to interact more with the patients as I had more confidence and experience to do so. Mostly, all the patients I have interacted with has been incredibly kind and supportive, knowing I am a student. Also, there were other students from different universities on their audiology placement at the same time; it was lovely to get to know them and learn from each other.


Lockdown experience and future aims 

During Lockdown, I have been working on my assignments and joining in online lectures that have been made for us students to retain our practical knowledge. It has been nice to spend more time with the family even with the few arguments between the brothers and sister where the sentence of “Please go back to Leicester” has been said many times but like for many, it has been an eye-opening experience. The most important thing is hoping everyone stays safe and wish everyone all the best.

Hopefully, when it is safe to get back to placement, I can carry on learning and bettering myself to become the best audiologist I can be to reach my future aim of getting rid of negative misconceptions surrounding deafness and to promote positivity around audiology.

Zain Qaisar

De Montfort University