An audiologist measures a patient’s hearing and sense of balance, identifies problems and recommends treatment. Audiologists can prescribe hearing aids and advise patients how to use them.
- physically examine inner and outer ears (otoscopy)
- test the patient’s hearing using specialist equipment such as an audiometer
- adjust and calibrate (balance) the equipment – maybe do minor repairs
- record and interpret readings to help clinical staff diagnose what is causing hearing problems
- test the patient’s sense of balance and check for symptoms of neurological disease
- take a mould of the patient’s ear for making the ear insert for a hearing aid
- choose and fit suitable hearing devices, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants
- support patients with hearing problems over a long period, teaching them how to use the aid and giving advice on how to manage the condition
- work with doctors, social workers, employment advisers or teachers.
Audiologists working as clinical physiologists for the NHS are on the Agenda for Change salary scales. The current pay scales are from April 2017. They start on Band 5, £22,440 to £29,034 a year. Senior audiologists are on Band 6, £26,830 to £35,933 a year.
Specialists and consultants can earn more.
- You will work in a hospital, clinic or laboratory.
- You may occasionally visit GP surgeries, schools or patients’ homes.
- You will generally work normal office hours although there may be occasional weekend work.
- Part time work is possible.
- Your patients will range in age from babies (if specialising in paediatrics) to older people.
- You wear a white lab coat.
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- NHS Scotland sometimes offers posts for trainee clinical physiologists, which includes audiology. This is a four year programme of work-based training and block release academic contact. This is available with Glasgow Caledonian University, in conjunction with Glasgow Kelvin College.
- Alternatively, you can study for an Honours degree (first class or upper second) in a science or a relevant related subject – maths, physics, biological sciences, psychology, linguistics or speech language therapy.
- Entry requirements for degree course are usually 5 Highers including 2 from Maths, science subjects and Psychology. Some universities require Advanced Highers.
- After your degree you take the 2-year Postgraduate Diploma or Masters course in Audiology (Pre-Registration) at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.
- On successful completion, you are eligible to join the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP).
- You will require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
The majority of audiologists work for the NHS, either in clinics or in research. Others work in private clinics, universities or research institutes. There are vacancies advertised on the British Society of Audiology, British Academy of Audiology, NHS Scotland Recruitment and NHS Jobs (England and Wales) websites.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You should have:
- a high level of accuracy
- a caring and understanding manner
- technical skill and good manual dexterity
- excellent communication skills
- a clear voice
- good problem solving skills.
You should be able to:
- concentrate for long periods
- explain things clearly
- work well in a team and on your own.
At the end of your audiology course, you would register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Clinical Scientist (Audiology).
- You can register with the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), who run events and conferences aimed at Continuing Professional Education (CPD).
- You can specialise in particular areas, for example in paediatrics, or in helping patients cope with conditions such as tinnitus (noises in the ears).
- Queen Margaret University offers the MSc Rehabilitative Audiology (Post-Registration) for those with at least 3 years' post qualification experience and a CPD portfolio, and want to specialise in that area.
- You can apply for promotion to senior and principal grades. Some audiologists move into teaching, research or consultancy.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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