David Welbourn (1957 - 2023) - "A guiding light"

Our regular audiologist contributor, Raúl García-Medina pays tribute to Professor David Welbourn, who died after a sudden illness in September 2023. David was a frequent face and voice in Audiology Worldnews. He was born in Brighouse, West Yorkshire and, says his widow Elizabeth, "was always a true Yorkshireman, despite living most of his life in Suffolk". He leaves two daughters, Becky and Clare, and a sister, Susanne and her family.

Published on 31 March 2024

David Welbourn (1957 – 2023) – “A guiding light”


In loving memory of Professor David Welbourn, a true visionary leader in audiology who dedicated a good part of his life to advocating for a better hearing world. As we reflect on his impactful work and unwavering commitment, we honour his legacy and the profound impact he had on the field of audiology.

David Welbourn’s passion for change was evident in his tireless efforts to address the link between untreated hearing loss and dementia. As the Chief Executive of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA), he championed early intervention and raised awareness about the importance of hearing health. His work shed light on the critical need to prioritise hearing care as a key component of overall well-being.

In his predictions for 2031, David Welbourn foresaw a transformative shift in healthcare, emphasizing the urgency to address the marginalisation of hearing health. His vision underscored the necessity of taking proactive measures to prevent further inequities in healthcare access. Through his advocacy and foresight, he inspired others to join him in shaping a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals with hearing impairments.

David Welbourn’s insights on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on UK audiology provided invaluable guidance during challenging times. His perspectives illuminated the obstacles faced by the industry and offered solutions to navigate unprecedented challenges. His dedication to improving audiology services and supporting professionals in the field left a lasting impression on all who had the privilege of working alongside him.

As we bid farewell to a remarkable leader, we express our deepest gratitude for David Welbourn’s contributions to audiology and his unwavering commitment to creating a better hearing world. His legacy will continue to inspire us to strive for excellence, advocate for inclusivity, and work towards a future where everyone has access to quality hearing care.

In honouring David Welbourn’s memory, we pledge to carry forward his vision and continue the important work he started. May his passion, dedication, and belief in a better hearing world serve as a guiding light for generations to come. Rest in peace, dear friend, your impact will forever resonate in our hearts and in the field of audiology.

Raúl García-Medina 

Founder and CEO www.theaudiologyclinic.uk

BSHAA acknowledgement

Prof. David Welbourn was both a chartered engineer and chartered physicist. He studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Cambridge, specialising in theoretical physics. He obtained his PhD from Edinburgh University. During a portfolio career, he was also a trustee of UK Council on Deafness and Visiting Professor in the Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility at Leeds Business School.

The British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA) commented on the death of its former Chief Executive:

“The news deeply affected many within the BSHAA community, including board members and members who offered personal tributes and contacted his family directly. While an official statement from BSHAA was not issued, the impact Mr. Welbourn had on many is deeply felt and acknowledged.”

David Welbourn quotations are from articles featuring Prof. Welbourn in Audiology News UK (formerly Audio Infos)

Source: Audiology News UK issue 07 March-April 2024


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