OLIVER - Wright before your ears!

The new Chair of the UK's Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals (AIHHP) says audiologists need greater recognition of their work.

Peter WIX, Published on 18 May 2024

OLIVER – Wright before your ears!

We have heard from scant few Olivers in history and fiction, but those who stick in the mind were famous – for one reason or another – for holding their corner.

And to share even the name of Twist, Hardy, Reed, or Cromwell at least makes for a zippy introduction to Oliver Wright, the new chair of the small niche, as he calls it, the UK’s Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals (AIHHP) .

 

Audiology News UK (ANUK): New chair for the AIHHP. New directions?

Oliver Wright (OW): Straight to business, like it… I guess firstly it’s important to state that as the chair I’m really just in charge of coordinating council and any direction changes come from us as a group. But I think from my own perspective the key direction for us over the next year is to continue to develop and grow our association. We have some truly amazing independent businesses within our membership but there are many more in the UK that are running fantastic, boutique audiology practices and would be great AIHHP members. Our job is to appeal more to these potential members, giving them defined benefits and reasons for them to join us. I’m hoping we can make it easier for these businesses to join us whilst still upholding the values and high standards of the association.

 

ANUK: Now you are the lead and maximum representative of an important professional body in UK hearing care. How can you best present that association to potential members?

OLIVER WRIGHT: I think for me personally it’s about communicating my values as an audiologist and business owner and then using that to highlight what the association also stands for. I’d hope that by myself and other members doing this we would make AIHHP membership aspirational and something audiologists would aim for.

 

independent hearing practices,uk audiology,AIHHP,Oliver Wright,audiology recruitment crisis,Uk college of audiology

AIHHP
Oliver Wright: “Could you imagine a time when audiologists go to work everyday and never hear any push back or resistance to hearing technology and never get asked for ‘invisible’ hearing aids!?”

 

ANUK: No one has unlimited energy, but there is no shortage of challenges facing audiology today. Which of those challenges most urgently require the energies of AIHHP with you as chair?

OLIVER WRIGHT: I still feel there is so much work to do to raise awareness of proactively dealing with hearing loss. This is important whatever sector of the industry you represent. Those of us in audiology know what good work we do and what amazing technologies we have access to to help people, but the public consciousness of this is still so limited. I’ve been in hearing care for 27 years now and although our work is more widely recognised, we are still just scratching the surface I feel. Could you imagine a time when audiologists go to work everyday and never hear any push back or resistance to hearing technology and never get asked for ‘invisible’ hearing aids!? One day maybe!

ANUK: There is a chronic recruitment crisis, not just in audiology but across healthcare. Do you think that UK audiology is currently a sufficiently attractive career draw for young people thinking of dedicating their lives to a caring profession?

OLIVER WRIGHT: It should be! The opportunities within audiology are fantastic but I feel that because awareness of hearing care generally (as mentioned earlier) is still so poor, hearing care as a career prospect is probably also not going to be on people’s radar. I would guess that a lot of people going into an audiology degree would be doing so because they have seen hearing loss touch someone’s life and so they have an awareness of the industry, or like me, had a family member already in the industry.

 

On the subject of a College of Audiology for the UK

 

ANUK: Is it correct to portray AIHHP as an association in favour of a unified College of Audiology for the UK? According to what conditions is the AIHHP team prepared to back a new push to create such a unified body?

OLIVER WRIGHT: Ultimately AIHHP as an association is here to back the interests of small, independent audiology business owners who are doing everything they can to provide best practice for their clients. I think if a unified College of Audiology furthered these interests, then as an association we would be 100% behind this. As things stand, I am incredibly thankful and proud of the fact that AIHHP is part of these conversations with other professional bodies because we do represent a small niche within the industry. It’s exciting times for audiology provision and I’m glad to be a part of it both within AIHHP and as an HCPC registered dispenser.

 

ANUK: Who is Oliver Wright, chair of AIHHP? And when he is not chair of AIHHP?

OLIVER WRIGHT: Outside AIHHP, I have the pleasure of running four independent clinics in and around Essex. Two of these are practices I have run with my father over the last 27 years and two have joined the group through acquisition over the last six years. This all keeps me quite busy but I have a team of 20 amazing people who help me no end. The busiest part of my week is caring for five children (eldest 11, youngest 6) and helping my wife to home school them all. Family is the most important thing and I’m always struggling to get that optimum work life balance. I nail it most of the time!

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