Focus On...Audiology

by YPU Admin on August 13, 2013, Comments. Tags: Audiology, careers, healthcare, Life Science, pathways, and study


Considering becoming an audiologist?

Not sure what an audiologist is? Well, if you like interacting with people, want to improve somebody’s quality of life and want a career that is people focused but also has elements of science and technology, then a degree in audiology could be just for you.

What is audiology?

Audiology is the branch of science that studies hearing, hearing related disorders, and balance. Audiologists work with people who have hearing and balance conditions, so you will get to work with people of all ages, from new-born babies to adults. Audiologists are also responsible for the patient’s management, which may include counselling and fitting of hearing aids. As the world gets more crowded, and ‘louder’, and people get older, more and more people will need help from audiologists. Just check out the figures: there are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. That’s one in six of the population. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK and, on average, it takes around ten years for people to seek help about hearing problems. By 2031, it is estimated that there will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK. Hearing problems are only going to get more common and that means the world needs more audiologists!

Studying audiology

There are lots of different training and education options if you want a career in audiology. You could work alongside an audiologist as an assistant, or work as a Hearing Aid Dispenser in which you would need to do a foundation degree (see If you are not really sure where you want to work, but would like to see patients then you may want to study an audiology degree. Here at The University of Manchester we offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, which combine the practical, theoretical and clinical aspects of audiology. These courses are part of the Audiology and Deafness Group at Manchester, which is the oldest audiology department in the UK, dating back to 1919. In addition we have strong links with the NHS, where some of our courses provide placements in NHS clinics. Click here to find out the many different courses we offer. Also why not find out what one of our first years has to say about the course….here

Career Paths

Completing either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at The University of Manchester prepares you for a career in the NHS or the independent sector. Audiologists are part of a big team and work with: speech and language therapists; teachers of the deaf; ear, nose and throat specialists; and social services. But if working in the NHS doesn’t appeal to you, there are loads more options. Graduates from our courses have found work with companies that create and dispense hearing aids or have become lecturers at universities, undertaking their own research. Others now work for hearing charities or at schools that specialise in teaching children with hearing problems. The career opportunities as an audiologist are very good and, with an ageing population, the demand for audiologists will only increase.

Our Research

One example of a research project being carried out at The University of Manchester is investigating the changes in brain activity after wearing an earplug in one ear for a short period of time. Our brains are able to compensate for a change in hearing. If you have a hearing loss, the brain will increase its activity to compensate for less sound reaching the brain. However, in some people, the brain activity will increase too much and this can lead to tinnitus, a condition where the person hears a high-pitched ringing noise (this is why the condition is also known as ‘ringing in the ears’). Little is known about what causes the brain to overcompensate and where and when these changes occur. We hope to understand more about the changes in brain activity and how it can lead to tinnitus by simulating hearing loss, which involves wearing an earplug and measuring the changes in brain activity. If we can understand more about the changes in brain activity, this could lead to a better understanding of tinnitus. If you would like to know more about our other research projects, visit our website.

Find out more about audiology

Have a look at our website for more information about Audiology at The University of Manchester.

For up-to-date news about what we do in our department and school, check out our blog.

Check out our very own Professor Chris Plack, explaining how the ear works using only the thousand most used words in the English Language.

The British Society of Audiology supports audiology across the UK and you can find out about the latest news and events from their website.

Check out The British Academy of Audiology (BAA) that supports Audiologists and provides advice on careers in Audiology. 


YPU Needs You!

by YPU Admin on August 5, 2013, Comments. Tags: blog, ideas, posts, Research, and Ypu

For the past few months our PhD students have been talking to the YPU about their research here at The University of Manchester.

Now we need your help!

We'd like you to tell us what you'd like to see on the site. Is there a topic that we haven't covered that you'd like to know more about? Are there other stories you'd like us to cover?

Please let us know, by dropping us an email, or leaving a comment here!


What does it mean?

by YPU Admin on July 29, 2013, Comments. Tags: Bible, language, meaning, metaphor, Religion, and Research


My name is Richard, and I am a third year PhD student in Religions and Theology.  After finishing my A Levels way back in 1997, I studied English Literature for my first degree at university.  I then did my teaching qualification and taught English, history and religious studies at school and college level for 8 years.  Four years ago I decided to go back to study at Manchester and did my Masters and then PhD.  In addition to this, I am an ordained priest in the Open Episcopal Church, a small liberal catholic denomination.

In the same way that people might study metaphors in plays, poems or novels, I am studying them in the Bible – particularly in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.  This is an important area of study, because the metaphors used affect the way that readers think or feel about what is written.  Also, the Bible could be seen to be very different from other literature because people use it to guide them in what they do in their lives.

In Depth

What is a metaphor?  This is a question that stirs up a lot of debate, and some people argue that all language is possibly metaphor.  However, for simplicity, let us take the example from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when Romeo says “Juliet is the sun”.  Here, Romeo is comparing the lovely Juliet to the big ball of gas in the sky that provides light and warmth.  What picture do you think that paints of Juliet’s characteristics, the way she looks, how she is as a person?  Maybe the reader would think that Juliet is very important to Romeo, like the sun is to the earth, or that she provides him with emotional warmth.

Now, imagine if Romeo instead compared Juliet to an iceberg – what a different picture that would create!  This could be very negative, making her seem emotionally cold and uncaring, or even dangerous or cruel!

So, you can see from this basic example how important metaphors are in affecting the meaning of a text.  The Bible is a text that has caused a lot of debate, argument and fighting over its meaning.  Where we think metaphors are used in the Bible, it is important that we consider what those metaphors may or may not mean.

Let us take an example from Romans in the New Testament of the Bible, which was originally written in Greek.   In Romans 4:3, it says that because Abraham believed God’s promises, God “accounted” to him that he was a righteous person (meaning someone who is decent, good or doing things right).  Notice here the word “accounted” (logizomai in Greek), which is often used in business or economics – think about the job of an “accountant”.

The question I am asking is this – how does this metaphor of accounting add to the meaning?  Is it just used for the sake of it, or does it mean that God is prepared to pay Abraham back for his faith with some kind of spiritual reward – maybe something lovely in heaven, or some kind of authority or power on earth?  If we look at this from an economic perspective, this puts God in debt to the believer, and thus makes the role of the believer seem more important than some Christians might be comfortable with.  As such, this work has the potential to create a lot of controversy.  Although, if the Bible is to be studied honestly then those who study it cannot and must not always try and avoid offending people who don’t like what they might say about it.  All study must be objective and free.

Despite this controversy, studying metaphor in the Bible might help us to understand it much better, and also help us to answer some of the really big questions about what the Bible tells us about God, Christ and Christian religion – whether we are believers, non-believers or those who are undecided.

Going Further

A great all round website for information on all faiths is the BBC Religion website

The BBC also has a schools version of this website useful for teachers and students alike.

Britkid is an interesting website that shows different religions from the point of view of children.

For those studying religion at GCSE level, the BBC's Bitesize provides useful revision help.

To see copies of texts of all faiths, Sacred Texts has a great collection.

For teachers, but also interesting for A Level students, there is RE Online.

For A Level students wanting to look at university level papers and articles, the New Testament Gateway is worth a look.

The University of Manchester Religions and Theology website is a must for information about religions and theology courses offered by the University. And you can see what Francesca, another PhD student, is researching in her earlier blog post for the YPU. 

A visit to the Manchester Museum Greco-Roman exhibition is also highly recommended, as well as the John Rylands Library on Deansgate for special collections relating to religion. 

The Brightside Trust also provides information about studying for a degree in Religious Studies


The Barometer

by YPU Admin on July 22, 2013, Comments. Tags: earth and atmospheric science, podcasts, and science


Set up and run by researchers from the University of Manchester, the Barometer podcast aims to inform the listener about the wonders of Earth’s atmosphere and climate. The podcast team is made up of scientists working at the Centre for Atmospheric Science (CAS), who produce regular episodes on a wide range of informative and interesting topics.

The Barometer Podcast team

Whether discussing meteorological phenomena such as hurricanes and tornadoes, examining public health issues such as air quality and pollution, or light-heartedly debating the origins of weather folklore, each episode aims to enlighten and educate in equal measure.


Recorded podcasts

Most podcast episodes lean towards topical, as well as interesting, points of discussion. With the help of several internationally renowned weather experts, the team investigated the destructive power of hurricane Sandy in November 2012, as well as the more recent Oklahoma tornadoes in May of this year.

The more light-hearted features also utilise this approach of informing the listener through well-articulated debate and discussion. For example, in the latest episode, the Barometer team makes a bold forecast for the rest of the summer based upon some ancient weather folklore.

Outreach events

As well as informative podcast episodes, the Barometer team also aims to promote the cutting-edge research being done at the University of Manchester through various outreach activities.

In 2011, as part of the Manchester Science Festival, the podcasters ran a live interactive episode that involved panel discussion and demonstrations in front of an adult studio audience, focusing on the differences between weather and climate.

In 2012, again as part of the Manchester Science Festival, the team designed a set of interactive experiments geared towards school children that illustrated the importance of science in our everyday lives. This work laid the foundation for the National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) in March 2013, when over 850 local school children from years 5-9 visited the University of Manchester and participated in experiments. The Barometer podcast set up an interactive stall, demonstrating the basics of cloud formation using only a bottle of water and a match! During their time at NSEW, several podcasters caught up with the pupils to find out what they thought of the stall, and how they’d been inspired by what they’d seen and learnt.  

Future events

Over the coming months the Barometer podcast team has big plans to continue their expansive outreach programme, with a third consecutive appearance at the Manchester Science Festival already booked for autumn 2013. This will double previous efforts and incorporate both an hour-long live episode on 29 October, and an afternoon of interactive and engaging weather-related experiments on 2 November.

In the meantime, with the forthcoming 5th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the focus of the team will be on climate change. A summary of the physical science basis of the report is published on 27 September 2013, with an episode planned to discuss its findings and implications. Tied in with this, several podcast members will be attending the International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine conference on 26July, hoping to explore historical perspectives on climate change and discuss previous assessment reports of the IPCC with experts from a diverse range of disciplines. Podcasters will interview these distinguished speakers, providing background and context before the release of the next report.

Shorter, fortnightly to monthly episodes will continue to cover interesting weather events from across the globe and to explore the vagaries of weather folklore. If there is a topic that you want covering or a weather myth that you want busting, please let us know so that we can help out!

Links to other resources

Link to the latest episode or post

Archive of all episodes

Official Facebook page

Official Twitter account

Podcaster Will Morgan’s blog

The International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine runs from 22-26 July 2013. A timetable of the public events is available here


Why Sociology?

by YPU Admin on July 16, 2013, Comments. Tags: civil partnership, marriage, Research, and Sociology


My name's Em, and I'm currently researching for a PhD in Sociology at the University of Manchester. 

If I’m honest, I came to sociology quite by accident at A-level in 1996. My university career came much later in part because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I did not have the right attitude to study which meant I didn’t get the right grades to go to university. Roll forward another 9 years (2005) my brain was still incredibly active, busy, and questioning and I thought going to university might help! So, in 2005 I applied to go to college to do an Access to Higher Education course which gave me the skills and confidence to start a degree. A year later (2006) I started at BSU (Bath Spa University) and studied psychology, sociology, history (from my second year – I concentrated only on sociology, and took a couple of psychology modules). It was here that I realised I wanted to become a lecturer and learned I would need to do a PhD. I was taught by some really inspiring, funny and passionate lecturers who introduced me to sociology and I finally felt I was home, I fitted in this environment. They showed me how sociology was made up of different parts much like a big jigsaw puzzle. Our identities (made up of different combinations such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality and social roles: parent; child) are worn like masks, and shape how we are seen, and how others engage with us. They also influence the kinds of encounters we can have with others. We were also introduced to the idea that certain structures like ‘school’, ‘the family’, ‘marriage’ all operate to shape our experiences, keep things the same (continuity) and pattern our behaviour to maintain social order. Excitingly, these structures are not fixed; overtime they are rejected, remoulded, and contested by individuals sharing stories and people getting together in the form of ‘social movements’ to challenge the way these structures impact people’s lives.

In Depth

I think every academic has a story to share that begins with a fascination or preoccupation about something that connects them and their experiences to the topic they end up studying.  Why am I researching Civil Partnership? For my undergraduate dissertation I had been exploring how gay couples divide housework. I picked up on academic conversations that suggested there was a lot of concern about the impact of civil partnership, and how it might alter how same-sex couples ‘do’ their relationships. I was curious about why legal recognition for same-sex relationships caused such heated ‘battles’.


A central and controversial issue recurring in these ‘battles’ was the costs of gaining acceptance and visibility and being able to fit in, and the consequences that ‘fitting in’ would have for people whose relationships could not be considered ordinary. These concerns were quite lofty and abstract, they did not seem to engage with people’s everyday concerns or represent their lived lives. I was struck by the way that legal recognition was viewed as either having a positive impact, or a detrimental impact. These opinions could not allow for the possibility that civil partnership could be both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Additionally, no one had considered the factor of generation and how being a certain age and having different experiences before the availability of civil partnership might shape how they made sense of civil partnership. These concerns led me to develop my PhD project: After the Act: Narratives of Display and the Significance of Civil Partnership. The main aim of my project has been to explore the significance that civil partnership might have for a generation of people who would have formed and sustained intimate relationships without access to legal recognition.

Doing this project has meant I’ve travelled all over England and Wales, speaking to individuals or couples. I’ve been welcomed into people’s homes and workplaces. The stories that people have shared have focused on a number of key areas of their life: what their life was like before civil partnership; what their civil partnership day was like (was it a big celebration or a formality, who came and how did they react to the couple and how did the guests get on with each other); life afterwards (has it altered relationships with families-of-origin, and what impact has it had on encounters with others – acquaintances and strangers). Can they be more open about their relationship in public (e.g. hold hands and kiss) and are members of public they encounter tolerant and accepting? I am currently writing chapters describing my findings.

Going Further

Further information about Sociology at Manchester can be found on the department's webpages

You can find out more about studying Sociology, and careers in Sociology through the Brightside Trust's Bright Knowledge pages