MSc/PGDip Advanced Audiology Studies

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Adults with Complex Needs and Hearing Loss

Course unit fact file
Unit code PCHN67341
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit gives an in-depth comprehensive overview of hearing loss in the context of adults with complex needs. These complexities include intellectual disability, dementia, non-organic hearing loss, auditory processing disorder, hearing loss presenting with complex medical needs and progressive and sudden hearing loss. The focus will be on understanding the clinical presentation, natural history, aetiopathological bases, co-morbidities and wider impact of these conditions as well as multidisciplinary investigations and treatment/management/(re)habilitation and support.


The unit aims to: enable you to analyse, synthesise, evaluate and apply your knowledge, in order to identify aetiological and risk factors of hearing loss in adults with complex needs including intellectual disability, dementia, non-organic hearing loss, processing disorder, hearing loss presenting with complex medical needs and progressive and sudden deafness; and select and interpret cognitively appropriate investigations and initiate optimum treatment, management, rehabilitation and support.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge aetiologies, co-morbidities, additional needs, typical clinical presentations, natural history and wider impact of hearing problems in special adult populations (adults with intellectual disabilities, dementia, nonorganic hearing loss, processing disorder, presenting with complex medical needs and progressive and sudden deafness).
  • Show systematic understanding of the aging of the auditory system.
  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Show detailed knowledge of cognitively appropriate hearing assessments and investigations.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding multiagency team working and referrals.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of adult safeguarding and local care pathways.
  • Critically evaluate the research evidence pertaining to treatment, management, rehabilitation and external support agencies and policies in special adult populations.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of current research and its application to the performance and mastery of a range of technical skills whilst critically reflecting and applying in practice a range of clinical and communication skills to advise and communicate effectively with adults, their families or carers and other healthcare professionals.
  • Take a detailed, accurate and sensitive history and perform a reliable audiovestibular examination as appropriate to the needs of the adult.
  • Identify the importance of additional underlying factors on audiovestibular status.
  • Undertake a focused clinical examination as appropriate to the needs of the adult.
  • Select, perform and interpret the cognitively appropriate audiological tests that are required to assess the adult.
  • Implement appropriate intervention and management.
  • Liaise with the multidisciplinary team and refer appropriately for additional opinions.
  • Assess correctly benefits and problems of intervention and communicate the advantages and disadvantages of these interventions to the adult and parents or carers.
  • Explain the nature of the problem, share sensitively the possible uncertainties and the results of the test to adults and carers in a way so that they are able to understand the complexity of the problem.
  • Reflect on the challenges of applying research to practice in relation to these areas of practice and suggest improvements, building on a critique of available evidence.
  • Critically reflect on your own response to both normal and complex situations demonstrating the professional attributes and insights required working within the limits of professional competence referring as appropriate to senior staff.
  • Recognise the importance of the history to diagnosis.
  • Recognise the importance of accurate electrophysiological testing in making a diagnosis.
  • Recognise the importance of a team approach and involvement of other professionals in the assessment and management.
  • Recognise the importance of psychosocial aspects.
  • Recognise the value of identification of hearing loss as an additional difficulty.
  • Behave empathetically towards the adult and family/carers.
  • Be committed to and support continuous improvement of therapeutic services, with particular reference to auditing practice, evidence based practice, innovative new and improved technologies.

Teaching and learning methods

Webinars, directed and self-directed reading, online case studies, discussion-based learning: online discussion boards and tutorials, enquiry-based learning: online small-scale investigations, experience-based learning: sharing parents' perspectives.

Assessment methods

Case management plan, 2000 words, 100%

Recommended reading

Bent S Brennan S McShea L 2018 “Hearing Impairment in Persons with Intellectual Disabilities” in Prasher V, Janicki M ed. Physical Health of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, 2nd Edition, Springer.

For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see:

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Siobhan Brennan Unit coordinator

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