Professor David Welbourn

“My involvement with audiology can be laid squarely at the feet of serendipity…

My work in leadership and governance alerted me to a growing concern that the enormous value and significance of professionalism is increasingly being squeezed out by the shift towards a culture dominated by compliance with rules, and narrowly focus on micromanaged performance figures.  I was seeking opportunity to add some counterbalance to my portfolio allowing me to give more prominence to the defence of properly exercised professional judgement.  It was serendipity that introduced BSHAA at just the right moment, and here I am.

As I listen to and read the motivational stories from audiologists, it is clear that audiology is pernicious:  it gets under your skin and changes you, and I am no exception to this. 

 Yes, I got involved with BSHAA for good and laudable reasons to be able to speak out about professionalism from a position of real experience.  But it wasn’t long, before I was well and truly bitten.  It is totally and utterly unacceptable that something as profoundly personal and significant as quality of hearing, and the contribution it makes to supporting rich, fully engaged lives can be so easily marginalised and ignored by society.  Untreated hearing loss is the single most prevalent cause of disability and imposes the fourth largest burden of disability on UK society, as well as being strongly linked to almost all lifestyle factors contributing to accelerated frailty.  And no-one in authority or influence cares enough to build the profile it richly deserves!  

Too many audiologists have only ever experienced practising their profession in the margins, undervalued and ignored.  Provocatively, I accuse many of wearing their victimhood with pride.  I am driven to secure a place of genuine worth and professional credibility for audiologists, in which the enormity of the contribution hearing makes to quality of life and cohesion of society is widely recognised and respected.”

Prof. David Welbourn