- Help others manage or improve their hearing problems
- Progress into specialist roles or healthcare management
- You'll need excellent problem solving skills and good people skills
As an audiologist you'll develop specialist skills and knowledge as a health professional to help treat and manage conditions related to hearing. Audiology is a rapidly developing field, and approximately 16% of the population have a significant hearing loss.
Your specific responsibilities may vary according to your specific area of practice as an audiologist, but is likely to 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 plan which could involve assessing patients who are suitable for cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids
- Produce an impression of the ear for an ear mould
- Fit hearing aids and make changes to ear moulds
- Review progress and make changes to the fitting
- Teach patients how to use the prescribed hearing aid
- Repair faulty hearing aids
- Increase hearing ability by using lip-reading or other communication skills
- Give patients information and advice on how to manage their condition
- Manage patients with dual sensory loss (hearing and sight) or learning disabilities
Audiologists may work with patients of all ages as part of a team, recommending and providing appropriate therapeutic rehabilitation and management. You could work in the NHS or in a private hospital or clinic.
You'll need to complete a 3-year NHS Practitioner Training Programme in healthcare science (audiology). To gain a place on this programme, you'll normally need good GCSEs and A levels or equivalent including a science.
To work as an audiologist in the private sector, you'll need to do an audiology degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
You could join the postgraduate NHS Scientist Training Programme, if you already have a science degree. This is a 3-year course in clinical science, specialising in neurosensory sciences.
You'll also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before you apply for a course - your local NHS trust may have opportunities available.
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.