Audiology has been taught at The University of Manchester for 100 years with thousands of students graduating over the years from both undergraduate and postgraduate audiology degrees. Awajimijana Otana is a recent graduate from the MSc Audiology programme and is now currently employed by the NHS as a Senior Specialist Paediatric Audiologist. Discover how the MSc helped him to get there below…
It is widely known within the global audiology community that the majority of people with disabling hearing loss are living in low-middle income nations, such as Nigeria, where I call home. Due to this, it was important to me to study at an institution that cares about hearing loss on a global scale as opposed to one whose sole focus is the local needs of the UK. The Audiology department at The University of Manchester has an outstanding reputation in the field of international hearing health support and therefore seemed like the perfect place for me to continue my education at postgraduate level.
Many prospective students may be more interested in information on the University’s global rankings and The University of Manchester ranks 5th in the UK for Health Science subjects. However, my decision to study at The University of Manchester was made on more than rankings alone; I wanted a university that was willing and able to support me on my journey to improve hearing health services in developing countries and I found this in Manchester.
Having completed my BSc in Information Technology in Nigeria, I had very little understanding regarding how challenging transitioning to a different field of study in a completely different country could be. For instance, my undergraduate degree in Nigeria was completed and predominantly assessed via exam-based assessments. There was no academic writing involved so you can imagine how difficult I initially found it to adjust to critical appraisal and reflective assignments. Thankfully, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health offered support and patience, allowing me to develop and then excel in the areas that I had initially struggled in.
Before commencing the MSc Audiology at the University of Manchester, I’d had some exposure to audiological equipment and assessments, enough to know I was interested in the field of study. However, I didn’t possess comprehensive knowledge or understanding surrounding conducting tests for specific clinical cases. Furthermore, I was not able to critically analyse the results of an audiological test in order to effectively manage patient outcomes. Additionally, deficiencies in my knowledge surrounding evidence-based practice and how this can positively influence day-to-day clinical decisions meant I had a lot to learn throughout the duration of the MSc Audiology course.
The course content introduced me to various fascinating areas of research within Audiology propelling me towards my final dissertation which focused on Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD). My dissertation was a systematic review that attempts to provide information to improve prognostic accuracy within the patient population with ANSD. This was received by the Audiology community with great praise and later went on to win a national award for the Best Research Paper Poster at the 16th British Academy of Audiology Conference. This highlights the quality of research undertaken by students and graduates of the University of Manchester.
Not long after the successful completion of the MSc Audiology course, I started my clinical placement at Aintree University Hospital – one of the finest audiology departments in the UK. Following the completion of this placement, The University of Manchester and Aintree University hospital very kindly nominated me for the Lisa Bayliss Award which is a National Award presented by the British Academy of Audiology to the best performing student across the United Kingdom on their clinical placement year – I was honoured to have won this award.
Having qualified in 2019, I have been employed in three clinical settings across the UK; with the latest being as a Senior Specialist Paediatric Audiologist with the NHS in London – a role that I am thoroughly enjoying!
My top hints for prospective students: The University publishes podcasts of all lectures and as such my top hint would be; plan some time in your diary to listen to those lectures repeatedly. Although the content may seem overwhelming at first, the podcast offers you the opportunity to listen to lectures at your own pace.
Upon reflection, the MSc Audiology course at the University of Manchester has been a worthwhile investment of both my time and money. All aspects of the course have turned out extremely relevant and helpful in my career. My Audiology experience at the University of Manchester has also empowered me to start-up the Bridge Hearing Initiative which aims to cater for the hearing health needs of persons in developing countries using tele-audiology.
Lastly, I have come to the conclusion that the University of Manchester provides you with a fertile platform for growth, and combined with your hard work and dedication to this rewarding Audiology course, the sky will be your starting point.