Johnny - Paediatric Audiologist, NHS Lothian

My name’s Johnny. I’ve been working as a paediatric audiologist for 10 years.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Believe it or not, all I wanted to do when I was growing up was drive lorries.

Why did you decide to become a healthcare scientist?

I've had a few jobs over my working life. The last job I was in was with a charity organisation working with people who were deafblind. My contract was running out and about that time I became aware of an audiology degree course at Queen Margaret University. I took the opportunity.

Can you describe your job in a sentence?

It’s helping children of all ages just to try and hear a little bit better.

Tell us about a typical day

It can be vast and varied. In the first part of the day, you might find you’re working with a very young child. They may be just a few months old and you’re trying to find out what hearing loss is going on if any. Then you may be programming and fitting a hearing aid or aids to that young one.

Later on, you could be working with teenagers assessing their hearing which is completely different to how you test a younger one. In the afternoon, you could be testing the hearing of toddlers, mixed in with other children who have a sensitivity to sound or even tinnitus.

What opportunities are there to develop your skills and experience?

I think there are quite a lot of opportunities. You can learn from colleagues who are experts in their field. Wider than that, there are lots of different fields of audiology we can tap into, where training is readily available.

What have been your greatest career accomplishments to date?

I think really working with a very young child once. They had hearing loss and I worked with a colleague to assist the child with their hearing. We had a breakthrough when we fitted the hearing aids and saw the difference in the child.

What makes you smile during your job?

I think what makes me smile the most is when I'm programming a hearing aid or aids for very young toddlers. When you switch the hearing aid on and you see their positive response, that makes me smile. They smile because they have this access to sound and communication all of a sudden and that just makes me smile a lot.

What part of your job is the most challenging?

Sometimes, you’ve got to break some bad news to a patient and their family, more so to their parents. That’s probably one of the hardest parts of this job. Thankfully it's not on a regular basis.

What are your future career ambitions?

Just keep doing my job to the best of my ability and maybe specialise in a few more areas I’m interested in.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming an audiologist?

Visit a few departments, ask if you can come in and view their clinics, observe what’s going on and get to know your subject as well. Have a look at what it’s all about, ask people who are audiologists what it’s all about. Have a look and see the difference healthcare scientists make to people's lives and let that guide your thinking.