15 February 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Balance is the number one reason over 65’s visit their GP
Ireland’s only education degree that examines the challenges faced by people with hearing and balance difficulties, was launched recently at University College Cork (UCC), by the then Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly.
The MSc Hearing Balance and Communication programme, was developed by the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in the School of Clinical Therapies at UCC, and provides opportunities to acquire state of the art knowledge and skills in the field of hearing and balance related difficulties.
A mission of the programme is to engage professionals from diverse backgrounds in expanding and progressing their own professional capacities with the goal of contributing to improved care for patients and their families. A unique focus of the degree is on communication across the lifespan and how it is influenced by hearing loss.
This new MSc provides an opportunity for continuing postgraduate education to professionals from Health and Education who already work closely together delivering child and adult services across the country. Students will learn in a collaborative environment, which will contribute to future co-operation between disciplines in the field of work. An innovative MSc, it offers a multidisciplinary approach to hearing and balance disorders and the challenges to communication across the lifespan. The course is open to ENT surgeons, Speech and Language Therapists, Teachers of the Deaf, GPs, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Nurses who wish to broaden their knowledge base.
“Through this degree we will further understanding of how we can assist those with balance and hearing difficulties” commented Nicole Muller, Head of the School of Clinical Therapies “ This degree will enhance and the skills of Ireland’s health professionals in this area. The resulting opportunities for career progression and retention are much needed within the existing diverse workforce that provides hearing and balance related care in Ireland.”
UCC is uniquely placed to provide this service given the multidisciplinary expertise amongst its staff. UCC provides the only education programme in clinical audiology in Ireland and this new programme will build on its success, which includes extensive experience in CPD for practising Audiologists. The School of Clinical Therapies encompasses 5 different disciplines (Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Radiography, Physiotherapy and Audiology) providing a unique setting to present ample opportunities and expertise for inter-professional learning.