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The bachelor's degree in General Audiology at the UVic-UCC Faculty of Medicine becomes the first official degree in this field in Catalonia and Spain

Estudiants del grau en Audiologia General de la UVic-UCC

The bachelor's degree in General Audiology at the UVic-UCC Faculty of Medicine becomes the first official degree in this field in Catalonia and Spain

The Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency and the Spanish Council of Universities have approved and ratified respectively the resolution that recognises the official status of the bachelor's degree in General Audiology is taught at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Vic - University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC). As a result, the studies in General Audiology at UVic-UCC, which began as a UVic-specific bachelor's degree in the 2023-2024 academic year, have become an official degree - the first in its field offered in Catalonia and Spain. The rector of the UVic-UCC, Josep Eladi Baños, emphasises that "the bachelor's degree in General Audiology reaffirms UVic-UCC's academic and institutional growth," and stresses "the institution's capacity to lead the way in the creation of new degrees in Catalonia and Spain which have a considerable social impact." 

"The first students from Catalonia and Spain to graduate in General Audiology will leave UVic-UCC in the 2026-2027 academic year," explains Josep Arimany, president of the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences Studies (FAHSS), the institution owning the Faculty of Medicine, which has begun to offer two new degrees this year: General Audiology and Dentistry. The two programmes have joined the bachelor's degree in Medicine and "have enabled the Faculty, which has a total of 700 students, to grow and consolidate," he adds. 

The official status of the bachelor's degree in General Audiology means the recognition of these studies and the culmination of a long accreditation process. Marina Geli, the director general of the FAHSS, believes that the programme's new status is a very positive development, and points out that "it makes us the first Catalan and Spanish university to offer an official and regulated degree in General Audiology," and at the same time it "positions us at the same level as countries in Europe and the United States, where it has been available for years." Geli reiterates that "it is an important step forward in the growth of the Faculty of Medicine," a project that began in 2011, which was consolidated in 2017 with the launch of the bachelor's degree in Medicine, and which has continued to grow this academic year with the two new bachelor's degree programmes: Dentistry and General Audiology.  
A bachelor's degree with a vision for the future 
The UVic-UCC bachelor's degree in General Audiology aims to train specialists who are able to assess, work with and guide patients with auditory or vestibular deficits, in a field with growing demand. The profession of audiologist, which is well established in Europe and the United States, is a new profession that is increasingly necessary taking into account factors such as the ageing of the population and the increase in high risk auditory situations.  

The UVic-UCC bachelor's degree in General Audiology last for four years and is taught in a blended learning format, at the Vic Medicine Campus and with synchronous online sessions. Starting in the first year, students join courses on the same bachelor's degree that are taught at other leading international universities in the field of audiology - primarily in Denmark. The UVic-UCC Faculty of Medicine is working with European universities and foreign teaching staff, from the United States of America, Germany and Denmark of the highest level in the research field and in terms of international prestige. 

The vice-dean of the bachelor's degree in General Audiology, Francesc Roca-Ribas, maintains that "there is a clear social and professional need to train audiologists" and says that "they will become increasingly important in the coming years," as is already the case in the United States, Denmark and other countries in Europe, where audiologists are fully consolidated within the public health system. In these countries, an audiologist is the professional who studies hearing and vestibular loss, and offers the best corrective or palliative solution in each case. They work in collaboration with doctors specialising in otorhinolaryngology, advanced specialists in prosthetic audiology and speech therapists, engineers specialising in hearing, and all areas of auditory and vestibular health. 

Practical training for the students, involving both simulation sessions and real patients, plays a very significant role in the course. The internships in the bachelor's degree in General Audiology amount to around 600 hours in three different periods, between the second semester of the third year and the first semester of the fourth year. The internships will take place in consultancies, health centres and hospital, in companies and in education. 

Some of the practical sessions for the students on the bachelor's degree in General Audiology take place in the faculty's AudioLab, a pioneering laboratory specialising in audiology, and a European leader in terms of both the quantity and the quality of its equipment. It contains the most advanced technologies and instruments for assessment of the auditory and vestibular systems, and enables students to familiarise themselves with this equipment beginning in the first semester of the bachelor's degree course. The AudioLab is part of a refitting of new spaces at the Faculty of Medicine, in the Can Baumann building in Vic, which will conclude at the beginning of next academic year. 

Hearing health in Catalonia and around the world 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that hearing problems have increased by around 80% worldwide in recent decades, and it predicts that one in four people will present hypoacusis (hearing loss) by 2050. It also points out that people with hearing problems feel more socially isolated and lonely, and their general health, and their mental health in particular, is poorer. This is mainly due to ageing populations in the developed world, and overexposure to noise. Indeed, hearing loss is the leading cause of disability in people over 70 years of age.  

Early detection and prevention are the main tool for dealing with hearing problems. Denmark and the United States are leading the way in this respect, and have a long and successful tradition in the field of hearing and acoustics. In those countries, the audiologist as a professional profile is consolidated in the healthcare field.   

The situation in Catalonia and Spain could be improved considerably in comparison to other regions in Europe. Unlike other areas of health, the portfolio of benefits and public services related to audiology is very limited.  

In view of this situation and the evidence that the needs of the population in terms of auditory health will increase in the coming years, audiology is a strong career prospect for the future. The Faculty of Medicine at UVic-UCC has decided to offer the bachelor's degree in General Audiology for this reason.

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