Paula wins European & UK audiologist of the year awards
An audiologist from Buckinghamshire has won awards for the top hearing professional in the United Kingdom and Europe’s best audiologist.
Paula Cook of Aston Hearing has been awarded the national title of Audiologist of the Year 2019 for the United Kingdom. Paula then went on to compete against other audiologists from France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland for the coveted title of European Audiologist of the Year which she went on to win.
Paula was nominated by her client Heather Cooper, who now lives in Turkey. Paula and the team at Aston Hearing have helped Heather who suffers from hearing loss for 17 years but Paula became particularly close to Heather when she arranged to take her summer holiday in Turkey at a resort near Heather’s new home because a dear friend of Heather’s, Dora, was struggling with her hearing and Heather was at a loss, not knowing how to help. After arranging to take her audiology equipment on the plane, Paula wasted no time in visiting the pair and assessing Dora’s hearing, fitting her with hearing aids from the Aston Hearing stock, to save on cost.
Describing the day Heather said: “The day that Dora was fitted with hearing aids was a day I will never forget. Paula was so kind and appreciated that Dora would find the introduction of sound at this stage of her life quite daunting, having very poor hearing for the past 25 years. We took it slowly, but all our fears diminished as soon as she fitted the hearing aids to Dora – her face broke into the biggest smile I have ever seen. Then came the tears and emotions from all of us when Dora said to us that she could finally hear the sea. “I feel that I’ve been born again” she said. Paula had another surprise and presented me with a new pair of hearing aids too – the same as Dora’s, so we were both able to support each other and finally communicate well with our new aids.”
Heather went on to explain that although Paula and Aston Hearing’s generosity and kindness was one of the reasons behind her nomination for Audiologist of the Year, it was Paula’s background and reasons for entering the profession that really hit home.
“Her previous career, prior to becoming an Audiologist had been working for the fire brigade but when her first child Ellen was born she focused her attention on being a mum. She was a beautiful little girl but was difficult to manage and had very challenging behaviour. She kept going back to her GP but it wasn’t until her child was three that she was diagnosed with severe hearing loss. By this time Paula had a second child, Michael. His hearing was also tested and it transpired they both had the same genetic hearing loss. From that moment on Paula fought for her children. She became involved in every way possible to ensure that they received the best care and technology available. She was such a regular in the audiology department that they offered her a job and that was that – her career in audiology began. Audiology is not a career for Paula, it is a life-long vocation.”
Paula also does a lot of charity work in Armenia with the Starkey Foundation which provides the gift of hearing to under-privileged adults and children around the world. www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/
Speaking on behalf of the panel, Secretary General for EHIMA, Stefan Zimmer said: “Picking a winner from so many detailed and heart-warming nominations is never easy. What we are looking for is those hearing care professionals who are going above and beyond merely expected levels of care in their practice. Paula was a clear winner in this regard.”
Paula Brinson-Pyke, Marketing Director at RAYOVAC®, said: “Together with our sponsors, we’re delighted to announce Paula Cook as the United Kingdom’s and Europe’s Audiologist of the Year.”
Paula says: “This is completely surreal for me; I was shocked to be nominated and then to be chosen for the award. When I received the devastating news of Ellen and Michael’s diagnosis, I could never have imagined the path it would have taken us all on, but when I received the news about the award I was with Ellen and Michael and it felt like the award was for the three of us. A culmination and recognition of our amazing journey. To have happened upon a career that has become my passion and calling is a privilege.”
The annual competition is organised by RAYOVAC®, a world-leading hearing aid battery manufacturer*, in partnership with Audio Infos, a leading international hearing publication for the audiology industry, the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH). Now in its twelfth year, the competition honours the top hearing professional in each participating country, nominated by their patients, who have received excellent levels of support, service and care from their audiologist.
For updates on this year’s Audiologist of the Year competition, visit www.audiologistoftheyear.eu