Audio vestibular medicine



Curriculum - Audio vestibular medicine training (2015)

Curriculum - Audio vestibular medicine training (2021)

JRCPTB Specialty Overview and Recruitment -


Training Programme Director (TPD)

Dr Sudhira Ratnayake


Alder Hey Children's Hospital


What is Audiovestibular Medicine?

Audiovestibular medicine (formerly known as Audiological Medicine) is an exciting and tremendously varied specialty. It is an outpatient-based specialty focused on the diagnosis, investigation and management of hearing and balance disorders.  However, while this may seem a narrow focus, the specialty covers multiple systems as the disorders we see, for example dizziness, can result from a variety of system disorders. Typical patients have problems such as hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness, imbalance, eye movement disorders and speech problems of peripheral otological and central nervous system origin. The specialty covers all age ranges with a strong interest in (re)habilitation including the management of the social and psychological impact of these disorders. It is a specialty that can make a significant difference to an individual’s quality of life. Audiovestibular physicians work in a variety of settings, from community based clinics through to highly specialist academic centres.


General Description of Training Programme

This is a 5 year Specialty Training Programme with approximately 1 year covering the basic sciences of audiovestibular medicine and 4 years clinical training in  Paediatric Audiological Medicine, Paediatric Vestibular Medicine, Adult Audiological Medicine and Adult Vestibular Medicine. The specialty offers clinical and intellectual challenges as well as research opportunities. Audiovestibular trainees develop a good understanding of the basic sciences underpinning hearing and balance physiology and disorders through a postgraduate Diploma or Master’s degree in Audiovestibular Medicine. Trainees will become familiar with the execution and interpretation of a range of specialist investigations of the audiovestibular system. As well as core training in audiovestibular physiology and pathology, the specialty training includes aspects of Developmental Paediatrics, Elderly Medicine, Clinical Genetics, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Psychology and Psychiatry.


Trainees come to audiovestibular medicine with a variety of backgrounds including general and elderly medicine, neurology, ENT and paediatrics. Those from surgical backgrounds need to gain medical competencies through core medical training before starting audiovestibular medicine training programme. This training will be arranged for the trainee after acceptance onto the training programme.


There are 2 audiovestibular medicine training programmes, one predominantly London-based, the other co-ordinated by the North Western Deanery.  The latter training programme covers a wide geographical area with placements available in Manchester, Bolton, Preston, Nottingham, Derby and Cardiff. Tailored training is arranged to ensure the full range of competencies according to the different backgrounds of trainees.


What personal qualities are needed?

Audiovestibular physicians need excellent clinical and interpersonal skills, as many conditions seen are complex and long-term. Career satisfaction comes from improving the quality of life in diverse patient groups that are at times neglected. This can include the auditory, communication, social, educational development in a neonate with a profound hearing loss or a person with troublesome tinnitus, multifactorial dizziness or balance problems. A multidisciplinary approach is adopted to these problems aimed at improving the well-being and quality of life of the individual concerned. An ability to work well with others is, therefore, essential.


Will it suit me?

Audiovestibular medicine (AVM) will particularly suit trainees who are

  • interested in complex medical problems
  • able to work with children and adults
  • good team players.

The training and career structure is flexible and structured, offering good opportunities for combined posts, academic work or work-life balance.


It is currently an excellent time to consider AVM as a career. The RCP has recognised the patchy provision of hearing and balance services around the country, and the need to more specialists to develop these services in areas that are currently under-resourced.


Further Links

Audiovestibular Medicine career:


A patient describes her condition, and the help she has had from her Audiovestibular Physician:


British Association of Audiovestibular Physicians:

Audio Vestibular Medicine