Our client, Chris, sadly passed away during the first wave of Covid back in April 2020. She had been a great friend of our practice since 1999 and her story is truly empowering.
Last week we were invited by Lord McFall, Speaker of the House of Lords, to a special commemorative reception at The Palace of Westminster (where Chris worked) to celebrate her life and to announce the launch and inaugural winners of the Chris Bolton Memorial Award, in conjunction with the National Deaf Children’s Society. Her surviving partner, Annie, decided that an annual award was the perfect and fitting tribute as it recognised Chris’ own deafness, and her love of children while empowering others with hearing loss.
We wrote about Chris in December 2020 with a link to one of the charities she supported: https://hearinghealthcare.co.uk/remembering-chris/
Chris was always so generous with her time and support of others, even nominating our work for the Audiologist of the Year Awards. It was her nomination which resulted in Robert Beiny, our director, securing both European and UK Audiologist of the Year awards in 2017.
This is what she wrote:
Thanks Hearing Healthcare Practice you literally saved my career!
For 18 years Robert and the team have managed to help me keep pace with my hearing loss (I have a severe to profound loss in both ears) by fitting me with the latest aids that might give me an edge in the hearing world. I’m never sure which of us the most excited by the latest technology!
If it weren’t for Hearing Healthcare Practice I wouldn’t be about to retire after a successful 46-year career, I wouldn’t be finishing my mortgage next month (in fact I probably wouldn’t still have my house) and I certainly wouldn’t have anywhere near the enjoyment of life that I have thanks to Robert’s help.
Here is my story: My hearing started deteriorating when I was 19 and I got my first NHS hearing aids when I was about 30 but, like so many people, found they were more hindrance than help and didn’t wear them. I got by for many years and by the time I really needed to wear aids I was lucky enough to be under the best audiologists at the Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London so got the absolutely best aids available on the NHS.
That, along with help from my colleagues, meant that I could manage to remain gainfully employed in the Palace of Westminster. When I was nearly 50 my organisation wished to shuffle their middle management staff to spread their knowledge and I was slated for a move to an office with a lot of telephone work and complicated listening activities – both were beyond my ability with my NHS aids.
I was offered another move but to a job with similar requirements- it was take that or nothing. Fortunately for me my NHS audiologist knew Robert Beiny and my organisation agreed to pay for him to give me an assessment (and eventually to pay for aids). As you can imagine I was in a flat panic at this point: A career rapidly going down the pan, approaching 50 and 14 years of mortgage still to pay. Yes, I had a brilliant skill set, but only if I could hear!
I really didn’t expect much of my proposed meeting; after all I already had the best the NHS could supply. How wrong I was! I still remember my first impressions of how kind, sympathetic, calm, reassuring, competent and knowledgeable he was and, all these years later, I can certainly say that impression was spot on. I think the most important thing Robert gave me on that first outing was hope (and how I needed that!). He saw me, not as an insurmountable problem or even as a source of income, just someone who he might have it in his power to help. He kitted me up with two brilliant radio aids and radio mics. More importantly, using his vast network of contacts, he managed to come up with a way to connect those aids to the office phone system – something which is standard now but 18 years ago he was breaking new ground. Wow what a difference! I could hear things I hadn’t heard for 20 years – blackbirds, trickling water and crucially, my clients!
Thanks to Robert I took the new job and haven’t looked back since. Over the years Robert has kept me kitted out with the best technology can offer to offset my increasing deafness and I look on him and his staff as friends not just hearing aid providers. I don’t need to keep up with the latest developments in the audiological world because I know Rob does and that the minute something comes on the market which might help he’ll be in touch so that I can try it out.
Last year he contacted me to offer me a long-term loan of two aids that enable the wearer to use their iPhone with ease. They are absolutely brilliant, and I can’t tell you how much of a difference they’ve made to me.
Robert got nothing out of doing this except the pleasure of being able to help someone. That is one of his main drivers. I know Hearing Healthcare Practice has funded hearing treatments out of their own pocket and help deaf charities regularly. They have also provided lip-speaking classes on their premises for free – just because they can.
I can’t tell you how many things I can still enjoy thanks to Robert.
Now in an educational and advisory role and away from the limelight, Robert Beiny continues to guide our audiologists, Angelique, Natalie and Jo, motivating them to improve on the dedicated award-winning hearing care service for which we are renowned.