International Women’s Day 2018 – Sarah Vokes

We’re marking International Women’s Day 2018 by putting BSHAA members in the spotlight. You can see all 11 member profiles on the main page HERE

SARAH VOKES: BSHAA PRESIDENT

“When I was teenager I had meningitis, which left me with a one-sided hearing loss, so I fully understand the complexities arising from hearing issues”

What’s your current role in audiology?

I studied at Nottingham School of Audiology where I was awarded a BAAT and went on to work within the NHS, where I built up a number of other disciplines including tinnitus care and paediatric testing. I set up my own company – Correct Hearing – in 2009 after working for the NHS and a large national company. I’m also honoured to be the current president of BSHAA, the professional body for independent audiologists.

When did you first know you wanted to be an audiologist?

When I was teenager I had meningitis, which left me with a one-sided hearing loss, so I fully understand the complexities arising from hearing issues. This was also a major influence on my decision to become an audiologist. I knew at the age of 19 that I wanted to help people with their hearing.

What’s the best thing about being an audiologist?

Simple! The best thing is being able to improve the quality of people’s lives. Hearing connects people to the world around them – to their friends and family, the world of work and leisure, everything. The inability to hear well has far-reaching and profound consequences, so to be able to connect someone fully to the world around them is incredibly satisfying and important work.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

As well as setting up my own hearing practice, I am most proud of becoming BSHAA president in 2016. It’s a huge honour to help steer the Society through the changes and challenges ahead for the profession. A vital part of this is to engage with members to reach an informed policy position which supports the best interests of both our members and those with hearing healthcare needs. Another aim is to engage with other audiology professional bodies to ensure a consistent voice that speaks on behalf of hearing healthcare professionals, whether they be in the private or public sector, and we’re making great strides with this. Most importantly, though, is to advocate on behalf of those with hearing loss to ensure the best hearing healthcare is delivered for them.

Any advice for other women who want to become an audiologist?

My simple advice on becoming an audiologist would be to go for it. It’s an amazing job that makes you want to get up to go to work every morning! Recognise that you are training as a clinical professional, and above all you must dedicate your practice to helping your clients and patients to be able to continue actively engaged in their world. Secondly, as the world of audiology changes ever more quickly, always be hungry to learn more and constantly reflect on how to improve your practice by using the latest scientific knowledge and technological breakthroughs. It’s a continually fascinating profession, so never stop being fascinated!