What do you do at Eriksholm Research Centre?
“I am a research clinician, which means I have two functions: I am part of the clinic team, and I also help the research group I am a part of: the eHealth area. In the clinic, I work directly with the test subjects focusing on their rehabilitation.
In the research group, I contribute with my audiological knowledge advocating for the user’s experiences. That is to make sure that we are not just coming up with clever ideas, which are actually not applicable in reality. I also recruit and keep contact with the test subjects. All of our research areas have an associated clinician.”
What made you interested in the hearing care field in the first place?
“That happened completely by chance. I did not know what to study, and when I looked through the catalogue from the university Audiologopedics was one of the first listed since it starts with an ‘A’. So I went to the introduction, and I just thought, ‘That is exactly what I want to do’. It caught my attention because communication is such a basic thing between people, and it interests me what happens when there is a rupture in that communication and how to help people who experience such a rupture.”
What is the most interesting result you have been part of during your time here?
“The first thing that comes to mind is my work with the test subjects. We often have people coming in who really have a hard time because of their hearing loss. It is almost impossible to imagine how great consequences it has for yourself, your work, your family, your friends. But it is amazing to see how I can help them by using our extremely good hearing aids and by putting my knowledge out there, talking to them, and making a hearing aid fitting for them. Sometimes they come back with tears in their eyes and tell me how it improves their life. That is definitely some of my best experiences.
Some of the research projects also mean a lot to me. For instance the project ‘Appetite for Life’, in which we had to find out what elements an app for hearing aid users should contain. We did that by including the users in our research. We learned a lot because the test subjects got to actually meet each other, and they got a lot of insights by talking to each other. That was very rewarding.”
What do you like the most about working here?
“The atmosphere here is very nice. The managers put great trust in the employees and we all respect each other’s work. I have the possibility to go into depth with my exciting tasks and learn from my colleagues.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“We have five children living at home, so I spend most of my time with my family. I also love being creative – for instance by sewing children’s clothes. I enjoy painting the furniture or spending time in my garden planting flowers. Just creating things make me happy. I also love the nature. I live close to beautiful nature, and I like going for a walk.
It is also very important for me to keep my friends close, even though we do not have much time anymore. However, not long ago I went to Berlin with four of my girlfriends. We try to go on a trip once every year.”
What are the three most important values in your life and why?
“Kindness: Too many people are angry or get stressed easily. I believe that meeting others with a smile or complimenting them can keep you warm the rest of the day. It is about both being kind to others and to yourself. I really try to treat myself well, too.
Happiness: I get excited about the smallest things. Today, for instance, I saw Eranthis flowers for the first time this year, and every year when I see the signs of spring I get so happy. I really try to appreciate the small things in life because it is so easy to overlook them and focus on the negative. In my experience, focusing on the good can make you feel better. It also accounts for people with a hearing loss: Even though you have a hearing loss, there are still so many things you can do. I work with that a lot in the clinic.
Inclusion: It is important to have patience with others even though they are different from you. I really try to treat everyone alike and not judge people. I believe that if you just stop and take a deep breath for a moment you can learn a lot from being with people completely different from you.”
What do you hope will happen in future science?
“What worries me the most is environmental issues and diseases. I hope we will get better at treating cancer, dementia, and other terrible diseases so many are suffering from. When it comes to the environment, I also hope that scientists will develop better solutions, for instance transportation systems, which will help the environment even though we use so many resources.
I also think, however, that it is important to keep an eye on the pace of the technical development. Because we are getting kind of a ‘fix it for me’ attitude towards technology. It accounts for my own field: Some people expect that a hearing aid will solve all their problems. I also see it at home: If the internet is down, my boys and husband are almost freaking out. We need to remember that technology can be just as fragile as human beings can. Therefore, we need to remember to take responsibility, and not expect the machines to do everything for us. We should not develop just because we can, but because it makes sense. And I think it is important to remember that when the technological advances make our lives easier, we should use the resources released by that on being there for each other as human beings.”