Image of a stem professional, Esther Popoola


I am Esther and I work as a paediatric audiologist within the NHS here in the UK. Audiology is a very niche field you may probably not have heard of before. To be fair, I had not either!


I have worked in audiology since I graduated from University in 2013, and I went into the paediatric side of audiology in 2018. Audiology is the study of hearing and balance, and it involves testing the hearing or balance of patients and drawing conclusions from your results. These results help you to create a management plan to help improve the quality of life for your patients. This may sometimes involve fitting hearing aids, which is also a part of my role. Audiology is a healthcare-based career that comes under the allied health professionals’ umbrella. Within audiology, you can choose to work within the NHS or privately. Working privately within audiology may have you working on the high street, and in some cases selling hearing aids or other assistive equipment to people. This may also sometimes come with a commission. If you are working within the NHS, your work may be based in a hospital or an outreach clinic. Outreach clinics are health care clinics within the community that makes hospital services more accessible.


I did not always want to be an audiologist. I did not even know what audiology was at the time I was thinking about my future profession. From a young age, I have always had an interest in the sciences, which I thought would eventually take me down the medicine route. When I went to college, I studied Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry at the A-Level. I still considered medicine, but then decided I wanted to go into a different healthcare profession as opposed to medicine. I spent some time researching the various options that were available to me, and this was where I came across audiology. After more research, I decided this was what I wanted to study.


I studied for a degree in Audiology for 4 years. This was an interesting and challenging time that involved lecture-based classes, placements in various hospitals around the country, along with working and learning from other NHS professionals. Although studying at a degree level was challenging, with hard work, consistency, and my faith in God, I was able to manage my workload of exams, assignments, and presentations successfully.


I graduated and began my working career. My first job was a temporary post, covering maternity leave within the department. This was a challenging first job personally, as I spent around four hours commuting every day. This understandably was very tiring, but I learnt a lot of useful knowledge within this time. Once my time here was coming to an end, another post came up, this time much closer to home. Thankfully, I was successful in the application process. This job is where I have spent the longest time working so far, 4 years. I found the department to be incredibly supportive, and I gained a lot of my skills as a clinician working there. After working here for a while, I desired to progress in my career and began looking for opportunities to do so within my department. Unfortunately, none came. So, after four years, I decided to move into a slightly different part of audiology, paediatric audiology. This was a scary move for me as I had only worked with adults in my professional career. I took a step out, and I was successful for the interview, and so began the journey of learning about Audiology as it relates to children. This is my career journey to date.


Throughout my career journey, I have faced various challenges and had various experiences which have helped me become the clinician I am. Through this journey, I think some of the key things that have helped are a willingness to learn and not being afraid to ask questions. I have also ensured I was always friendly in every department where I worked, even if we did not share the same opinions. I look forward to the future and what this will bring into my working career.


Tip — spend time looking into your interests and desires. This will help you to decide on what you want to do, as your profession.