What is a hearing specialist?
There are two main types of hearing loss specialists: Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers.
Audiologists are licensed healthcare professionals who specialize in treating and diagnosing hearing, tinnitus and balance problems in all ages.
Hearing aid dispensers, also known as a HAD, are qualified clinicians who have to carry out hearing tests and provide patients with aftercare for hearing aids.
This blog will be focused on Audiologists so read on if you’re interested in becoming one or just intrigued in general.
What’s an Audiologist?
An Audiologist is one of the most advanced hearing specialists. They’ve got advanced level education and degrees and are trained on identifying and treating hearing loss as well as the anatomy of the auditory system.
They are able to provide patients with detailed examinations of hearing loss. As well as that, they have the ability to treat a wide range of hearing loss problems such as tinnitus, ear wax impactions and balance disorders and can also identify the cause, which could range from aging to noise trauma.
An audiologist looks into medical history and physical examinations of the ear to find out possible sources for hearing issues. They have a responsibility to decide on the best way to test a patients hearing, considering factors such as age since they have to think about sound levels and frequency ranges and investigate any related medical, physical or emotional symptoms.
- Customer service skills
- Sensitivity and understanding
- Able to pay attention to detail
- Thinking and reasoning skills
- Verbal communication skills
- Psychology knowledge
If you’re looking to become an audiologist, you’ll need to complete a three-year Practitioner Training Program in healthcare science and to work as an audiologist privately as well as for the NHS. As well as that, you can also do an audiology foundation degree at University.
To actually get into the courses, 2 or 3 A-Levels or equivalent are required with one being a science subject (biology, chemistry, physics) for a degree.
The University of Southampton is ranked as the top university to go to for Audiology in England according to the Complete University Guide 2021. Followed by that, the University of Manchester was also seen as one of the best universities to go to if you’re looking to do a course on Audiology. The University of Strathclyde was another one that was up there with best places to go to study audiology.
It would go in your favour if you got some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before applying to a course. To do this you could possibly get in contact with the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust and receive advice.
You’ll also need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. By registering with the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists, you could gain access to professional development and networking opportunities.