If you’re interested in health science and enjoy working directly with patients, perhaps you should consider a career as a hearing therapist.
What do hearing therapists do?
Hearing therapists (also called audiologists) work with adults and children who are having problems with hearing and/or balance. Tasks may include:
- Deciding the best method for testing a patient’s hearing
- Adapting the method as needed to fit a patient’s age and abilities
- Performing hearing tests
- Interpreting the results and discussing them with the patient (including any related medical or emotional issues)
- Determining the best way to help patients maximize their hearing and/or adapt to hearing loss
- Identifying patients who may be candidates for cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing aids
- Fitting hearing aids and making adjustments as needed
- Teaching patients how to use their new hearing aids
- Repairing malfunctioning hearing aids
- Teaching patients lip-reading or other techniques to increase their communication capabilities
- Working with patients who have multiple disabilities, whether physical or mental
Where and when do hearing therapists work?
- Most hearing therapists work a typical 37.5-hour week, but part-time work is often available.
- Most hearing therapists work in an ear-nose-throat (ENT) clinic or in the audiology department of a hospital
- Hearing therapists will typically have an office with the special equipment they need
What do hearing therapists earn?
Hearing therapists’ salaries are based on NHS’s Agenda for Change. Most start at Band 5.
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- An interest in science and technology
- A desire to help patients adapt to challenges in their lives
- The ability to motivate patients to follow their rehab plans
- Problem-solving skills
- The ability to work both independently and with a team
- Counseling skills
Education and training
To begin training as an audiologist, you’ll need:
- 5 GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths, and science
- Three A levels, with at least one of them in science
Once you’ve met the entry requirements, you’ll need to:
- Complete a three-year NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) in audiology at university, which will include hands-on experience.
Register with the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP)
- You’ll also need to obtain Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.
- It’s important for hearing therapists to stay current on new trends and technologies. You’ll be required to maintain current registration with RCCP, which will include continuing education opportunities.
- You can find more continuing education opportunities on the British Academy of Audiology website.
- You could choose to go back to school to earn qualification as an audiological scientist. This is a masters’ program, and you’ll be paid while you train.
- You could move into management and direct an audiology apartment.
- You could specialize in an area like cochlear implants, balance rehabilitation, etc.
The job outlook is good, with the number of people employed as hearing therapists/audiologists expected to increase by 113,000 between now and 2020.
If you have a passion for helping others and an interest in health sciences, you could have a bright future as a hearing therapist.