Congratulations to our hearWELL lead and consultant ENT surgeon Col Prof Linda Orr, who in the course of a week received two prestigious accolades for her work on military hearing remote assessment and hearing rescue after injury.
Linda was chosen as a finalist for the Women in Defence’s ‘Innovation and Creativity’ Award, which celebrates women who have used imagination, creativity, inventiveness or ingenuity in an innovative way to multiply the effect of the UK defence mission. Linda earned a place in the finals for her leadership in the development of a toolkit to fully remotely assess patients’ hearing health and, in many circumstances, deliver treatment, all without the need for the patient to come to hospital.
The toolkit includes a smart phone endoscope attachment, boothless headset to obtain an audiogram, a tablet computer and an endoscope to obtain a picture of the eardrum. It has the potential to transform the referral and management process for Armed Forces personnel with hearing problems, but it also has a much wider implications for the delivery of a new pathway for NHS patients.
Linda’s attendance at the shortlisting ceremony was followed by a trip to Windsor Castle where she received her OBE from the Princess Royal, awarded as part of the 2020 New Year’s Honours list for her groundbreaking work, with the ceremony delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This remote hearing assessment pathway is currently undergoing a full evaluation through the Rapier trial – ‘Remote Audiometric Performance Innovation Evaluation and Review’ – through the hearWELL collaboration.