Careers in audiology are more diverse than they sound
Published 24 May, 2023 · 4-minute read
When she started her Master of Audiology Studies at UQ, Anthea Bott had some ideas about where it might lead her. Managing a hearing aid R&D team in Denmark wasn’t one of them.
But looking back at the twists and turns that led to her current career in Copenhagen, Thea wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It has been the best decision I have made to study the Master of Audiology program,” she says.
“It was the steppingstone to where I am today, but I made a lot of ‘outlier’ decisions.”
At the beginning of the program, Thea assumed – as anyone might – that the degree would have her become a clinical audiologist working in a hospital or hearing aid clinic. But by thinking outside the box and pursuing further research, she soon discovered the world of audiology had a lot more variety than she anticipated.
“It was only toward the end of the program that I considered undertaking a PhD,” she says.
“The PhD led me to Copenhagen, Denmark, where more opportunities presented themselves, and now I manage a team of data scientists and machine learning engineers in an R&D department of a hearing aid manufacturer.”
“It is quite remarkable to think how things have progressed over the past 9 years – I am excited to see what new challenges are around the corner.”
Thea now travels all over the world to give presentations to stakeholders
What led Thea to audiology?
After high school, Thea studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies), which led to a career in rehabilitation.
“I worked for 7 years as an exercise physiologist / rehabilitation counsellor, helping people with injuries and disabilities return to work,” she says.
While the job was rewarding and Thea enjoyed working in a field where she got to help people, she also wanted to work in a company where she’d find more opportunities for growth. So, she decided it was time to take the plunge and return to study.
“It was a big risk going back to being a poor uni student again, but as they say – no risk, no reward.”
Audiology wasn’t specifically on Thea’s radar though, until she spoke with a former colleague who had studied it during their time working at Centrelink together.
“I was looking to change careers and spoke with her about how she found her career change and what it was like working as an audiologist,” says Thea.
“She said how terrific it was, how varied her tasks were and, most importantly, how she was able to help people hear and communicate with their loved ones. To me, this sounded like the perfect fit for what I was looking for with my career change.”
This led Thea to UQ’s Master of Audiology Studies.
It has been the best decision I have made to study the Master of Audiology Studies program. It was the steppingstone to where I am today.
Master of Audiology Studies
This program offers a deep dive into the field of audiology, covering areas such as:
acoustics and psychoacoustics
auditory functions and disorders
paediatric and educational audiology.
For Thea, the courses she took in statistics and her second-year research project stand out as having been the most impactful in helping her get to where she is now.
These audiology students are practising performing an otoscopy
What does Thea’s job look like?
Thea manages the R&D team at GN Hearing, a role she loves for its opportunity for growth – both personally and professionally. She enjoys that no day is ever the same as the one before.
“I am constantly challenged and have been fortunate enough to have many new opportunities present themselves, which I absolutely love,” she says.
And while the days are never identical, there are a few key rituals that take place:
morning sync-ups with the team (done during a walk when the weather is nice and the whole team is in the office)
regular check-ins with the department’s management group
presentations with stakeholders and customers to showcase what the team is working on.
“When I present to our external customers, I am fortunate that I get to travel to different countries around the world,” says Thea.
“This year, I have been to Hanoi in Vietnam, Crete in Greece, and Istanbul in Türkiye.”
When she isn’t globetrotting, Thea gets to spend more time looking in depth at her team’s ongoing projects.
“I also manage data science and machine learning projects within R&D, so most days I will have a project meeting to attend,” she says.
“Most weeks, I also usually find some time to work with the big user data that we have and run different analyses.”
“While this may sound busy, there is always time for a laugh and banter.”
Perhaps Thea’s favourite part of the role, however, is helping her team members experience the same successes and opportunities for growth that she has enjoyed.
“I love seeing my team develop and take on new and challenging projects within the company,” she says.
“There are so many incredible people working in my team, in R&D and within the company – I am inspired by their passion, drive and intelligence to develop incredible products that help enrich the lives of people living with hearing loss and their loved ones.”
Because, at the end of the day, what matters most to Thea is that her work is improving the lives of others. And even if she could never have predicted the role she’s found herself in, she couldn’t be happier with it.