An audiological scientist is a clinical scientist that specialises in the diagnosis, analysis and treatment of human auditory disorders such as hearing, tinnitus and audio balance deficiencies.
Audiological science is further divided into sub-specialist groups:
– Paediatric audiology
– Surgical processes and implants
– Multisensory deficiencies
– Balance disorders.
Audiological scientists work in teams comprised of other specialists and healthcare professionals such as paediatricians, surgeons, ENT (ear, nose and throat) physicians, language and speech therapists and physiotherapists.
Their job involves the testing of auditory systems in patients across a wide age group, analysing auditory defects and disorders and recommending possible avenues for treatment.
Audiological scientists frequently interact with patients, monitoring auditory devices and implants once they’ve been fitted or implanted.
Like all scientists, audiologists are always looking for ways to advance the field by developing and implementing new processes and equipment for quicker, more effective diagnosis and treatment.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries for trainee audiological scientists are in the range of £21,000 and £28,000.
Salaries range between £28,000 and £40,000 for state-registered audiological scientists with postgraduate degrees and certifications of competency from the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS).
Audiological scientists with more than ten years of experience and managerial responsibilities can earn anything between £35,000 and £100,000.
Audiological scientists work in standard office schedules over a five-day week.
Their work is mainly lab-based within the medical facility, with a bit of patient interaction in providing advice on handling hearing aids and implanted devices.
The amount of work-related travel will depend upon the place of employment and type of employer.
Candidates with a BSc or postgraduate Diploma in Audiology are eligible to apply for state registration.
However, most employers (and employees) prefer an undergraduate degree in a more general medical discipline followed by an MSc in Audiology.
Prior experience of working with hearing-deficient patients or completion of sign-language training provide an added advantage.
A substantial percentage of audiologists are employed by the NHS. The minimum entry requirements for this include a one-year MSc degree in Audiology and enrolment in the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) Higher Training Scheme (HTS).
Post-training recruitment into full-time practice is facilitated through the NHS Scientist Training Programme.
Training & progression
Post-MSc, trainee audiologists are required to complete a specified period of on-the-job training under the supervision of a qualified professional, as well as taking practical and written exams.
Upon completion of clinical training and two years of supervised experience, audiological scientists are eligible to receive ACS certification, gained by submitting an experience and training log and clearing a final interview.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement to continue as a registered practitioner and to gain promotion to senior roles. This is governed by the BAA.
Developing expertise through advanced learning and work experience is crucial to building a long-term career in clinical audiology.