“Success isn’t about how much money you can make, it’s about the difference you can make in people’s lives.”-Michelle Obama.
It’s National Women’s day and what better way to celebrate it than by commemorating women in the field of Audiology. Hearing healthcare professionals are often overlooked and sometimes even underappreciated. However, what many don’t realise is just as the body needs every part to function for optimal health, equally all sectors in health are vital for the success of the healthcare system as a whole.
With that said, let's take a look at some trailblazing women, who against all odds, pursued their dreams and are now making a difference in their respective spheres in audiology.
This list is in no particular order and no preference has been given to anyone. And should there be someone you would like in our next article, feel free to nominate them in the comments section below. Help us find and honour all women making a difference in healthcare worldwide.
Professor Katijah Khoza-Shangase, is the first Black graduate to be awarded a PhD (Audiology) from a South African university in 2008. She is an active researcher who has and continues to be scholarly engaged by presenting at conferences and engaging in research. She obtained all her tertiary qualifications from the University of the Witwatersrand. She obtained her graduate degree as a Speech Pathologist and Audiologist in 1996, her Master’s degree in 2000 and her PhD in 2008.
She has worked as a practising clinician at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (an academic hospital linked to the University of the Witwatersrand) and has also lectured within the School of Human & Community Development (Speech Pathology & Audiology department) at Wits. Because she speaks several African languages, her clinical assessment and management are largely culturally and linguistically sensitive.
Prof Khoza-Shangase serves on numerous Boards and Committees to fulfill both her professional as well as her personal community engagement needs.
René Hornby, B.Logopedics & M.Communication Sciences (UP), Rem dipl (RAU), Doctor of Audiology (A.T. Still, USA), a leading researcher and clinician with a great passion for ensuring valid and reliable speech testing specific to the patients' context.
She is a clinical audiologist and owner of Dr René Hornby Audiologists in Pretoria, South Africa. She has a vast interest in clinical and research audiology including speech perception and recognition in individuals with normal and impaired hearing.
Dr Hornby has a passion for ensuring ‘healthcare for all’, and one of her solutions, together with her team, is creating, re-/recording and validating speech material to ensure contextualized and reliable speech audiometry assessment and management.
Dr Priya Carling, AuD, sections editor for a clinical publication in ENT and Audiology and Trustee on the board of hearing charity Sound Seekers. She trained as a Speech-language therapist and audiologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and completed her AuD through Nova Southeastern University in Florida, America.
She has over 20 years’ clinical and management experience in both the private and public sectors, primarily in the UK. She has been Director of Education and a Senior Lecturer at UCL’s Ear Institute in London.
Prior to this, she was Head of Service at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London and Head of Audiology at East Kent NHS Foundation Trust.
Her research experience includes clinical trials of interventions (device and
pharmacological) for hearing loss and tinnitus, and interests include global hearing health, noise-induced hearing loss prevention, and education for improving patient outcomes through high-quality service delivery.
Priya now runs her own clinical practice and consultancy in Kent, delivering continuing education, consultancy and research services to the private and commercial sectors, both nationally and globally.
Jackie Clark, PhD, is the current President of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). She is also a Clinical Professor at UT Dallas’ School of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, where she teaches a number of classes in the AuD program as well as carries a clinical caseload at The Callier Center. Dr Clark has also been awarded the appointment as a Research Scholar at the University of The Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some other universities that she consults and collaborates with include: the University of Nairobi in Kenya; the University of Pretoria in South Africa; and TongRen Hospital/University of Beijing (PRC).
Prior to stepping into the Executive Committee, she was a Member at Large on the AAA for 3 years (which also entailed Board Liaison for the American Board of Audiology). She serviced on the Texas Academy of Audiology Board for 14 years, and most recently as the President. In addition, she is a founding co-founder and co-director of the Not-for-Profit, Coalition for Global Hearing Health; the Managing Editor of The International Journal of Audiology; and also the Humanitarian Audiologist Committee Chair within the International Society.
Dr Clark has authored many invited peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and has been invited to lecture in many parts of the world. She is currently a co-editor of a monthly e-column entitled “Audiology Without Borders” found in The Hearing Journal (a Wolter-Klower’s Publication)." When she is home, she can be found either researching clinical aspects of audiology or in her small private practice (in rural Texas) clinically serving patients of all ages.
Neethie Lavanithum Joseph
Dr Neethie (Lavanithum ) Joseph is a senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Therapy from the University of KwaZulu- Natal (former University of Durban Westville) in 1986. She went on to complete her post-graduate studies under Prof Erna Alant at the University of Pretoria, graduating with a Master of Communication Pathology (Cum Laude) in 1999, and a PhD with specialization in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, focusing on South African Sign Language and mother-child communication related to deafness, in 2009.
She has worked at the KZN Department of Health and in the Department of education. She joined the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1995 as a lecturer in Speech Therapy and Audiology where she held the position of Head of Discipline over a number of years. Has taught in a variety of areas in audiology and supervised a number of honours level audiology research projects.
Dr Joseph teaches extensively in the postgraduate programme at masters and PhD level. Areas include family centered intervention, early hearing detection and intervention, paediatric hearing loss with HIV/AIDS, ototoxicity and MDR-TB, tinnitus, and paediatric and adult aural rehabilitation. Serves as external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including masters and PhD study in South Africa in the field of Audiology.
There are many more women that are game changers within audiology. These are just some of the fearless women who have, and continue to make a difference in this field. We honor and salute you as you continue to fly the flag high, not only for women, but for the betterment of all humanity.