After Peter's mother witnessed the way he interacted with his hard of hearing grandmother, she urged him to pursue a career in healthcare. Today he is the MD of his own audiology company.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I am a tinnitus, hearing loss and wax removal expert who recently launched my own private practice, Peter Byrom Audiology from Sheffield’s private hospitals after 20 years in NHS audiology.
Formerly the clinical lead for an adult audiology department at a South Yorkshire NHS Trust hospital, I also carry out medico-legal work where noise is suspected of causing hearing loss.
As a hearing aid wearer who experiences tinnitus myself, during my MSc at the University of Leeds, I was thrilled to prove the disabling effects of tinnitus can be greatly reduced by wearing a hearing aid.
I live in Sheffield with my wife Ellen and our three children: Dan at university, Jim 16 and Martha 12. I handle the appointment bookings, finance and administration for the business, but it has now grown enough to employ my lovely organised wife to help!
What is it the company does?
We provide high quality hearing aids, tinnitus management, wax removal, medico legal work supporting ear nose and throat consultants.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
At the age of 16 I started work as a joiner, then my mum suggested I use the skills she has noticed me employ with my hard of hearing grandmother, to go back to college and study for the British Academy of Audiology Professional exams.
At 28, I started work in Barnsley Hospital’s audiology department shortly after moving to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and then the Royal Hallamshire. Here I achieved both my diploma in healthcare science and my degree in Healthcare Science (Audiology).
I then became the clinical lead for adult audiology at Rotherham Hospital where I completed my Masters in Advanced Practice (University of Leeds).
In Autumn 2017, after having undertaken private work on a part-time basis for a number of years, I moved out of the NHS to concentrate on private practice completely, launching Peter Byrom Audiology.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
I think being cheerful and encouraging goes a long way, one of my favourite expressions is ‘you’re a long time at work’, so for me it should be fun. There are a lot of hours to be unhappy if not.
If you can keep people enjoying their job, encouraging, appreciating and thanking- even if they are paid to do it- I find that pretty much they will do anything for you.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Having enough time to fit everything in! Learning how to fit the superb invisible Lyric hearing aids has been challenging, but it’s brilliant now I can help patients with expert fitting and see their confidence and interaction with the outside world grow.
Being hard of hearing is so isolating and can end careers and even marriages. I am the only supplier of Lyric hearing aids in South Yorkshire.vThere’s an ongoing training process and I undertake a lot of professional development to ensure my clients get the very best treatment.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I like to listen to BBC i-player radio, especially comedies like Have I Got News For You, Deadringers and The Now Show. I also enjoy The Apprentice, the characters are so extreme they are very amusing. The way they get things so wrong, they simply can’t be the country’s best entrepreneurs – whatever they say about themselves!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A demolition contractor – not sure where that came from, but my father was an architect so no doubt some old buildings would have had to have been demolished for the new ones.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
Idleness. People who are paid to do a job and instead do the bare minimum to avoid being sacked. They put no heart or soul into it.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
We are dreaming and planning big. We have new kit called the 'ear scanner' which can take the shape of an ear, without the need for an impression, via laser technology. We are seeing huge growth in sales of custom hearing aids, high quality audio inserts and noise protection.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
You have to be really, really honest. For instance, you hear stories about people avoiding tax. I find lies have very short legs: they can’t run very well and are easily caught!
We have ethical values and it’s essential to be legitimate. If someone is not right for a hearing aid, we will tell our clients that. This week an elderly lady came to me with hearing loss, but her memory was not good enough for the treatment to be effective. Once she has enough care, we can support her.
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