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Course Review

Glasgow Royal Infirmary otology and audiology course

Authors: Rishi Srivastava, Claudia Nogueira 

Publication date:  14 Dec 2012


The Glasgow Royal Infirmary otology and audiology course is an annual four day programme run by Professor George Browning at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill. The aim of the course is to improve the management of patients with otological symptoms.

Who is it for?

When this course first started, it was aimed at ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinicians at consultant level. This course is now in its 27th year and participants are mainly ENT registrars or middle grade doctors and audiologists at various stages in their careers who want to improve and refresh their knowledge and clinical skills. There are 20 places available on the course, with tuition divided into four groups of five participants. The course is usually attended by national and international clinicians.

When did you do it?

We did the course as specialty registrar year 4 trainees in ear, nose, and throat medicine. Other delegates included those preparing for their fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) ENT exams.

Why did you do it?

Having had a few years of experience at senior house officer and registrar level, we felt we had reasonable grounding in the field of otology and audiology. We wanted to fill the gaps in our knowledge, however, and build upon the basic principles we have learnt so far. In particular, we wanted to improve our understanding of balance disorders, examination of the dizzy patient, clinical assessment of hearing, and audiometry and its pitfalls.

What is the structure?

The four day programme runs from 9 am to 5 pm and consists of four morning tutorials and four afternoons of clinical and audiometric practical sessions.

Topics include clinical assessment of hearing, pure tone audiometry, chronic otitis media, otosclerosis, congenital hearing impairment, physiology, and clinical examination of balance disorders. What we found most valuable and what has made a difference to our practice is the clinical assessment of hearing session and the session on approach and examination of balance disorders. These sessions helped to consolidate and advance our knowledge in the assessment and management of balance and hearing disorders.

The afternoon sessions comprise small group tuition in clinical skills of hearing testing in adults and children. There were also opportunities for every participant to practise a full otological examination of patients, followed by an individual feedback on the presentation.

The course is set at a steady pace and allows enough time for discussion. Daily lunches and refreshments are provided. Some of the evenings were spent with the faculty, wining and dining in Glasgow.

What is the cost?

The course costs £695, which includes all materials, refreshments, and lunches.

Would you recommend this course?

The course was enjoyable and has been specifically designed to provide participants with a thorough grounding in the basic concepts and techniques in audiology. The topics were delivered well with an appropriate level of detail. The atmosphere on the course was very relaxed and the faculty were very approachable.

We believe that what sets this well established course apart from other audiology courses is the renowned expertise of the faculty. In addition, there were ample opportunities for extensive discussion. Practical sessions and case studies constituted a great part of the course and provided each participant with sufficient time to gain experience and confidence in all the topics discussed.

We would definitely recommend this course to other doctors. It provides a fantastic overview of the knowledge needed by final year trainees preparing for the ENT FRCS exam. It is also an excellent learning opportunity for early stage ENT trainees and audiologists. We just wish we had done it sooner.

Top tip

  • Try to read the pre-course material so you can gain the most from the tutorials.

Further information

The course will next be held in May 2013. For further information, please contact Professor Browning’s secretary via email:  carole@ihr.gla.ac.uk.

Competing interests: None declared.

Rishi Srivastava ear, nose, and throat registrar  Castle Hill Hospital, Hull, UK
Claudia Nogueira ear, nose, and throat registrar  Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK

 rishisrivastava@doctors.org.uk

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