Progressing through education, I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare to be able to help people. I came across Audiology while attending university open days, and was absolutely sold the degree and the profession by the enthusiasm of the course lead.
I attended the University of Bristol from 2010 to 2014 studying a BSc in Audiology. The course itself was four years; two years of lectures, one year away on placement and then a further year of lectures to wrap things up. I really enjoyed my course; I met some amazing people, some of whom I still work with today. My placement year was actually spent in Derriford Hospital which was one of the key reasons for working here full time later on.
I have always been a fan of learning by doing, not by reading or watching, so the placement year was perfect from that perspective. I received a really immersive experience working alongside a range of Audiologists who have shaped me into the clinician that I am today. I will always be grateful to the department and the people in it for the expertise and patience they gave to me while learning.
I have seen all sorts of people in Audiology, both while studying on my placement and working here as a member of staff. I have seen young adults where hearing aids have opened doors in terms of employment and social opportunities, and I have seen centenarians who are desperate just to hear their umpteenth great-grandchild.
Being responsible for this part of people’s lives is a massive ask, but it’s one I will never shy away from. People outside of work ask me: “Do you not get bored doing the same hearing tests and fitting the same hearing aids every day?” But, for me, it is much more than that. It sounds like a cliché but every person who walks in my room is different. Their hearing tests may be the same, but the way they deal with their problems, their outlook on life is something I have to assess very quickly and then conduct the appointment accordingly.
Let me give you an example
One particular example of a good experience that sticks out is a gentleman I saw some time ago. He had an important role at his company which he had been for some considerable time, but a gradual hearing loss was beginning to affect his ability to communicate with others. His passion for his work was evident even after just a few minutes of speaking to him.
He was aware but not accepting of his hearing problems, and hearing aids were not appealing at first. We talked for a long time about the advantages and disadvantages, but he opted to try them to see how things went. The hearing aids had made a tremendous impact – he was absolutely delighted with them. Despite his concerns about the negative image the hearing aids may put across to his colleagues, now that he was able to hear they gave him a new sense of independence and confidence. I don’t do this job to be given pats on the back and told ‘well done’, but how could it not have a positive effect on me?
Three years on from graduating from Bristol, I can look back with immense satisfaction at the choice I made on that particular open day. I now work in a department where I can make life-changing assistance to people in a very short space of time. Hearing is something we all take for granted, and is something you only know the impact of not having, until something changes.
Being able to help people integrate back into work or social situations, or simply just ensuring the television isn’t bothering the neighbours, is thoroughly rewarding and a job that gives me great pride.
Rob is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from Audiology, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.