What is Audiology?
Audiology is a branch of Healthcare Science that concerns hearing and balance. Audiologists perform assessments on all ages of patients, from neonates to the very elderly. They routinely use complex scientific equipment that can support the diagnosis of hearing and balance disorders and often many patients are treated solely by Audiologists without the input from medical doctors. As well as diagnosis they support patients with rehabilitative interventions such as hearing aid fittings and counseling for tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness and auditory processing disorders.
Progressing through the audiology career structure can be complex, but basic grade audiologists study at university for a healthcare science degree in neurosensory science, covering hearing science, neurophysiology and vision science. This is a practitioner based programme B.Sc (PTP) and allows the graduate to work at Band 5 level (healthcare science practitioner) in the NHS. Further training schemes are available (scientist training programme). Here the trainee follows a period of in service training and completes an M.Sc in healthcare science (neurosensory science). Scientists are then able given career opportunities to study and practice at consultant level.
The career structure is flexible and follows the National Modernising Scientific Career (MSC) pathway. You do not have to have a degree to work in assistant roles (bands 2-4) and due to MSC there are certificate courses to allow assistant staff or new starters to work at associate level (Band 4) if a post is available.
Overall, there are flexible approaches for new starters in audiology and established staff who want to progress through the profession.
Cwm Taf Audiology
The department a Cwm Taf is medium sized and focussed on developing services for the patients that they see. There are many opportunities for staff development in Audiology and recently all qualified staff were given an option to study for a funded masters level module with the consideration of a fully funded masters scheme. Over the past few years, assistant and administration staff have benefited from an investment in training and four members of the team have studied a certificate level associate practitioners course (potentially leading to associate audiologist grade) at Swansea University.
The department has very close links with Swansea University and is able to act as a placement centre for the Swansea PTP scheme. Even though patient through put is very high the department has organised a number of successful team building days with the aim of recognising the good work that the team has been involved in. The department is research active and has successfully completed a number of projects and service developments that has resulted in published peer review articles in internationally recognised journals.
Cwm Taf Audiology has a lot to offer!