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International Women’s Day 2018 – Sarah Rayner

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


“If you want to make a difference, become an audiologist. We truly change people’s lives and restore their worlds”

What’s your current role in audiology?

I am Clinical Audiological Trainer for Boots Hearingcare. I’m involved in all areas of training: eLearning, induction and regional events, with a specific focus on students, supervisors and mentors. This involves working with colleagues from universities to ensure students have successful placements. We have had great success with our Foundation Degree students (through Aston University) and host BSc and MSc students from Aston, Manchester and UCL. Many students who attend placements with us join our graduate programme and I see them in induction and in ongoing training.

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

I was two years into my qualification as a Dispensing Optician when Boots started offering hearing care in the store in Preston. Whilst we only offered the ‘Songbird’ and digitally programmed BTE hearing aids, customers were so happy to be hearing better. I’d talk to them about the impact this had on their lives and it was always so positive. I’d often sit in with the hearingcare appointments and was desperate (though not allowed) to take an impression of someone’s ear! I qualified as FBDO in October 2001 and joined Boots Hearingcare that December as a Student Audiologist on the HAC program – and I have never looked back.

What’s the best thing about being an audiologist?

If you want to make a difference, become an audiologist. We truly change people’s lives and restore their worlds. Improving someone’s hearing improves their quality of life, reduces feelings of isolation and depression, and has positive impacts on relationships, social wellbeing and confidence. There are several recent studies which have found links to hearing loss and cognitive function, risk of falls and other comorbidities. Audiology training is ongoing. As a progressive subject, it’s about so much more than hearing.

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

There are two things. Firstly, the impact becoming an audiologist had on my family. Mum had moderate hearing loss, and we walked the road to better hearing together. Over the years she had several solutions. As technology advanced, her final solution included a TV link and Dect phone. She loved the advances and felt the added accessories gave her greater control over her hearing. As a trainer, I love the journey I have with students, watching them develop and grow in confidence. Whether it’s the first time they do an impression or when they get their results, it’s thrilling.

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

There are various ways that you can train as an audiologist: three-year BSc programs, MSc and FDSc, so go for it! Think about what you want to do in the future and chose the right option for you. You can start to train straight from school, or leave it to later in your life. Several companies offer sponsored training positions for HCA and Foundation degree students, enabling you to work in the private sector and fit it around family life, or as a career change. For me, doing the sponsored HAC course allowed me to get married and have a mortgage. I have taught audiology students who are parents and even grandparents, so it is never too late!

International Women’s Day 2018 – Sarah Rayner