Audiologists test people's hearing, finding and measuring hearing loss. They also test and assess patients for balance problems. They work closely with the patient, giving them advice and information to help them develop the skills they need to manage difficulties. Audiologists fit patients with hearing aids and give advice on a range of other devices.
Also known as
- Medical Technical Officer - Audiology
- Physiological Measurement Technician - Audiology
Video: - Jody: Audiologist
Video: - Ross: Audio Designer
As an Audiologist, you will test and measure people's hearing, using specialist equipment such as audiometers. You use a range of tests. For some, the patient does not have to respond to a sound. For example, in a test for auditory brainstem response, the patient wears electrodes on their skin while equipment measures electrical activity from their auditory system.
Apart from measuring any hearing loss, you can also work out if the patient has a balance problem. You assess balance problems and can arrive at a diagnosis of neurological (nerve system) problems. Audiologists are involved in the assessment of ear-related balance problems.
You work closely with your patients, often giving them long-term support and advice. You enable patients to cope with or overcome hearing loss, balance problems and conditions such as tinnitus.
If the patient needs a hearing aid or other device, you will select and fit the one that best suits their needs. You will also give advice on how best to use it, and emotional support to help the patient come to terms with wearing it.
Apart from working with patients, you also look after, test and maintain the equipment.
Audiologists work closely with a wide range of health, social care and education professionals, such as Doctors, Speech and Language Therapists and people in social services departments.
Some Audiologists specialise in work with children. For example, you diagnose babies that are born with permanent hearing loss. You support parents during this distressing time and work with a multi-disciplinary team to address the baby's needs.
You could specialise in the rehabilitation of adults. You plan and deliver an individual programme to increase the patient's communication skills and independence. This programme could include hearing aid support, tinnitus management, counselling or balance re-training, depending on the patient's needs.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become an Audiologist, you'll need:
- to enjoy working with people
- the ability to listen to patients as they describe their problems
- empathy and a caring nature
- to be comfortable with speaking at a normal level but slightly slower pace, so patients can lip-read you
- good planning and time-management skills
- technical skills to use equipment
- problem-solving skills
- practical hand skills to work with small hearing aid parts
- an interest in science; analytical skills; and willingness to keep up to date with technology
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: Band - Band 5: £24,214 - £30,112
- With experience - Band 6: £30,401 - £37,267
- Senior Audiologists - Band 7: £37,570 - £43,772
Hours of work
Audiologists usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some have to work shifts on a rota basis. Part-time work might be available.
Where could I work?
Employers include the NHS (in audiology units and schools or child assessment centres). There are limited opportunities in private healthcare companies and in industry (for example, carrying out hearing assessments).
Opportunities for Audiologists occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, in local/national newspapers and on job boards.
Entry Routes and Training
Entry routes and training
To become an Audiologist, you can take a three-year degree in healthcare science (audiology). This would enable you to register with the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists.
People working in the NHS, for example, as Assistant Practitioners (who deliver care under the supervision of a registered Audiologist) or who are employed in the private hearing aid provider sector can take a foundation degree in hearing aid audiology. This allows you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Hearing Aid Dispenser, working in private practice. Progression can also be onto a recognised degree course, allowing you to work as an Audiologist in the NHS, private practice or another area.
Graduates with a first (undergraduate) degree in a relevant science subject (2:1 or above) can apply to the Scientist Training Programme (STP). Each NHS organisation that advertises STP vacancies decides which degree subjects are relevant, but these could include physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology. You'll be employed by an Audiology department which will then arrange your clinical training for you. You will also work part-time towards a postgraduate MSc.
Entry to the STP can also be possible with a 2:2 if you also have a relevant postgraduate qualification.
For more information, please contact the British Academy of Audiology, Health Careers in England, or NHS Wales Careers.
The Welsh Government funds the education and training for a range of health professional education courses, (details of the specific courses can be found at: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/undergraduate-education). To be eligible for a bursary you must commit to working in Wales following completion of your programme.
More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
NHS Audiologists can progress into management positions. Some Audiologists become Independent Practitioners in private practice.
Previous experience working in a caring environment such as in a hospital or a care home would be really useful for this career.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.
This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
For a degree in healthcare science (audiology), you'll usually need:
- 3 A levels, including at least one science subject and maths
- GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
- a further 2/3 GCSEs 9 - 4 (A*- C), including English and maths
Equivalent qualifications, such as BTEC level 3 qualifications and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, might be acceptable for entry - please check prospectuses carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications you need to enter a degree in healthcare sciences: audiology, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, such as Access to Science. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, although you should check this with the course provider.
- 11% of people in occupations such as audiologist work part-time.
- 4% have flexible hours.
- 5% of employees work on a temporary basis.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Address: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU
Tel: 0845 3006184
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN
Tel: 0131 6563200
British Society of Audiology (BSA)
Address: 80 Brighton Road, Reading, Berkshire RG6 1PS
Tel: 0118 9660622
British Academy of Audiology (BAA)
Address: Blackburn House, Redhouse Road, Seafield, Bathgate, West Lothian, EH47 7AQ
Tel: 01625 290046
Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP)
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales