Shadowing a DoctorMay 29, 2014
Becoming An Audiologist
Audiologists work with adults and children who suffer from loss of hearing or may have problems with tinnitus or loss of balance. As an audiologist you would help patients improve their hearing by using hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. If their hearing cannot be restored by using any type of hearing devices, you would help them assimilate information by lip-reading.
This is an excellent career choice for someone who has a caring nature and outstanding communication skills.
Audiologist Job Description
Audiologists treat problems with hearing and balance function and recommend or provide ways to improve their patient’s hearing.
As an audiologist, your job would involve:
– Determining the safest and most effective way to test each patient’s hearing
– Checking the patient’s hearing ability, including sound level and frequency range
– Adapting tests so they are more suitable to the patient’s age and ability
– Investigating any related medical, physical and emotional symptoms
Once you’ve made a diagnosis, you would put together a rehabilitation plan, which could involve:
– Evaluating your patient’s suitability for cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids
– Creating an impression of the ear for an appropriate ear mould
– Fitting hearing aids
– Teaching patients how to use the prescribed hearing aid
– Evaluating the patient’s progress and making changes to the fitted aid
– Modifying ear moulds when necessary for a better fit
– Repairing faulty hearing aids
– Enhancing hearing ability by using lip-reading or other appropriate communication skills
– Educating patients on how to manage their condition
– Managing patients with learning disabilities or dual sensory loss (hearing and sight)
Audiologists may also counsel patients and their families and help them adjust to hearing loss and balance disorders. Full-time audiologists typically work in the audiology departments in hospitals or in ear, nose and throat clinics.
To become an audiologist you will first have to complete the NHS Practitioner Training Programme. This is a three-year programme. To get onto the NHS PTP you will typically need to have obtained five GCSEs (A-C) including English, science and maths. In addition, you will also need to have three A-levels including at least one science subject.
Essential Skills And Attributes
Because of the nature of the job, you must possess certain skills and attributes if you are considering a career as an audiologist:
– A caring and supportive approach
– An interest and aptitude in science and technology
– Clear speech and excellent written communication skills
– Dexterity to handle small devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants
– The ability to analyse and deal with complex situations
– Excellent counselling skills
– The ability to motivate patients to follow rehabilitation programmes
– Good problem solving skills
Opportunities for Audiologists in the UK
Most audiologists in the UK work in the audiology or ENT departments at NHS or private hospitals.
You could, after a few years experience, go on to specialise in other advanced areas such as cochlear implants, balance rehabilitation, or assisting people with dual sensory loss or learning disabilities. There are also several research or teaching posts available at several universities. Research posts may also be available at the Medical Research Council.