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 – perhaps carrying out 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.
Clinical physiologists working as audiologists for the NHS are on the Agenda for Change salary scales. The current pay scales are from April 2021. They start on Band 5, £26,104 to £32,915 a year. Senior audiologists are on Band 6, £33,072 to £40,736 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2021.
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.
You should look for a position as an NHS employed practitioner trainee. This is usually available bi-annually at Glasgow Caledonian University, in conjunction with Glasgow Kelvin College. Look out for trainee positions on NHS Scotland Recruitment.
You would require 3 or 4 Highers at BBC or BCCC, preferably in science subjects. National 5 Maths or Physics is also required.
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 criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
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.