How to become an audiologist: Amun's story

Meet Amun, 24 from Middlesbrough. She works as an audiologist, helping people with hearing loss or dizziness because of their ears. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Amun
"A-levels seemed a lot harder than uni. By that point you know what you want to do, so you are more motivated to do it."

What is your job?

I deal mainly with ears – with people who have hearing loss or dizziness because of their ears. I work with both children and adults. I repair and maintain hearing aids, I do hearing tests and diagnose people with hearing loss.

What skills do you use in your work?

A lot of our work requires clear communication – mostly simplifying words as a lot of it is physics-based, which can sometimes confuse people. We give basic instructions and try not to overwhelm people when we tell them that they have a hearing loss. Time management is also important – we don’t always know who’s going to walk through the door, so you have to be able to adapt to things.

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to do something in science and something in a hospital. My grades weren’t very good, but I was able to do a foundation course at my uni followed by a three-year Biomedical course. When it came to choosing our options, I then chose audiology as my specialism. With our course we did theory work and then placements. I did one of my placements at the hospital where I now work, so when I finished my course, I applied here. I already knew how the department worked and it was close to home.

What subjects did you study at school?

For GCSEs I did double Science, Maths, English, Business, ICT, and French – I passed all of them. I was brilliant at Science. I did an AS-level in Critical Thinking along with Biology, Psychology, Physics, and Chemistry for AS. I dropped Chemistry and continued with the others. I didn’t do well enough to get onto the courses I'd applied for – I could have waited for clearing, but instead I started a one year foundation course which led to a three-year Biomedical course.

Amun with a model of the human ear
Amun with a model of the human ear.

Top tips

  • If you’re a ‘people person’, this is definitely the job for you, especially if you have a clear voice. If you are open to meeting different sorts of people, then this is a brilliant job for you

  • Keep your options open. If you don’t know what to do, pick a mix of subjects.

What to expect if you want to be an audiologist

Audiologists work with children and adults who suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus, or have problems with balance.

  • Audiologist salary: £22,000 to £41,500 per year
  • Audiologist hours: 38 to 40 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirement: You'll need to complete a three-year NHS Practitioner Training Programme in Healthcare Science (Audiology) to become an audiologist. This is a three-year course in Clinical Science, specialising in Neurosensory Sciences. You’ll need five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade 4 (C) or above, including English, Maths and sometimes a science. You’ll also need two or three A-levels (or equivalent), including a science. You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before you apply for a course. You could join the postgraduate NHS Scientist Training Programme, if you already have a science degree.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

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