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Employee Portrait - Elisabet Thoren

Elisabet Sundewall Thorén

Our colleague since 2002

What do you do at Eriksholm?

I am a research audiologist at Eriksholm Research Centre. Day-to-day, I manage eHealth projects as project manager, focusing on online use of rehabilitative tools such as “Online Hearing Enhancement Program”, “Professional Online Rehabilitation of Hearing Impaired Adults” and “Health Psychology and Hearing Healthcare”.

And you have worked here for how long now?

“I have been here since 2002, come July. More than fifteen years ago I attended the university in Lund. By happenstance we had the opportunity to visit Oticon’s headquarter During our visit, those who showed us around kept insisting that many real-life products that help people with hearing impairment, began as an idea in someone’s head at a place called Eriksholm. That made me curious. So I started looking into it, but this was long before Eriksholm had social media, much less a website. I called, and asked whether I could come for a visit, and to my surprise they took a full day out of their calendars to show me around the facilities, and at some points even asked for my opinion – a lowly student in my own eyes – on new research projects. That experience, and the transparency in it, made me want to join the staff at Eriksholm Research Centre; and so, when it came time to work on my Master’s degree, I chose to write my thesis at Eriksholm. Fortunately, they wanted me back. And now, fifteen years later, here I am.”

What are some of the projects you have been involved with at Eriksholm Research Centre?

“I started out working with cognitive abilities, a field that – at the time – was a completely rather new tioc within audiology. We spent a lot of time working on appropriately fit hearing aids to ease cognitive load, and took a look at the patient journey from a different perspective. After some years I had the opportunity to investigate if and how the internet can be used to help more people with hearing impairment to use their hearing possibilities better. This led to my PhD thesis in collaboration with Linköping University and Professor Gerhard Andersson and Marie Öberg. Our studies were actually one of the very first where we could show positive effects of using online interventions. That led to the projects I’m leading today, where focus is on how to bring digital rehabilitation methods to people with hearing impairment and their hearing care professionals. I hope to make it easier, less cumbersome, and to understand and make the most of your hearing aids, as well as your hearing impairment. That is something I am very passionate about.”

What do you like the most about working at Eriksholm Research Centre?

“There are two things I like here in particular. One is the fact that not two days are alike here at the research centre. One day you are applying for grants or working through data, and the next you are running tests and attending conferences. The other thing I am particularly fond of, is the fact that this research centre is a window to the rest of the audiological world. We work with people, businesses and research institutions all around the world to constantly break new ground in hearing care.”

What are the three most important values in your life?

1. Family – My family means a lot to me. The quality time I have with them is always a very valuable time for us, and that is something I would not be without.

2. Nature – The world all around us is beautiful, and that is something I certainly try to appreciate. There is so many hidden gems in the world, so why not look for them. 

3. Music – Like nature pleases the eyes, I suppose it is the same for music and the ears. It is always comfortable to lean back with music and forget about everything for a while.

What do you hope will happen in future science?

“This is a tough question, but there is one thing that has been concerning me lately. Since January, there has been tremendous focus on ‘alternative facts’ and fake news. That is somewhere I think it is important that we, as researchers, push for the credibility of empirical evidence and a return to trusting the experts in society. I think it is no secret that anyone can write an opinion on the internet and get enormous reach with it, as long as it sounds digestible to a mass audience. This is a very dangerous balance to play with, and so I think it is incredibly important to push for finding reliable sources of information, and disconnecting feeling from fact.”

What is the most exciting scientific breakthrough in your time?

“To answer this I want to quote the late professor Hans Rosling who said that the washing machine is the biggest invention in modern times. I can absolutely testament to this, being the mother of three small children. For me, and peers at same steps in life, if would be impossible to live the life we do if it wasn’t for the washing machine.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I try to combine the three values I mentioned before. Family, music and nature. I realize that sounds very much like the plot to ‘Sound of Music’, but we might not be that extreme. I do look forward to our canoe trips, and our nature days with the whole family huddled together. There is something very soothing about being out in nature with those you love the most.”

We are committed to making audiological discoveries