OUS Victoria - March Lunch & Lecture by leading Australian audiologist Dr Elaine Saunders

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” At least that is what St Matthew’s gospel reports our Lord to have said. The OUS Victoria alumni group's committee decided to take this quotation to heart when it invited Dr Elaine Saunders, one of Australia’s leading audiologists, to speak at its quarterly lunch at the Kelvin Club in Melbourne on March 3.

Dr Saunders, who was born and educated in the UK, is Managing Director of Blamey Saunders Hears, a company which has done a lot to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of hearing aids. She herself conducted research into transferring the technology developed for cochlear implants into wider hearing aid applications.

She spoke of her early life experiences working with deaf children, and how the fitting of effective hearing aids can bring about a complete transformation in people’s lives. She quoted Helen Keller: “Blindness cuts us off from things.  Deafness cuts us off from people. Deafness is a much worse misfortune for it means the loss of the most vital stimulus – the sound of the voice that brings language and sets thoughts astir…”

Elaine, a most accomplished speaker, has won numerous accolades for her work and contributions to society. She was voted one of Australia’s 100 most influential women in 2015 and her company continues to win awards for its innovative approach to hearing.

Elaine also mentioned her recent book, Sound of Silence, in which she shares personal stories and experiences of those who are profoundly deaf and hear for the first time.

For most people at the lunch, it was the first time that they had heard Dr Saunders. All agreed, however, that listening to her presentation about deafness and hearing had been a real eye-opener....or is that too much of a mixed metaphor?

Richard Thwaites (Wadham, 1960) - OUS Victoria