Aston Hearing is very much a family business founded by Sue Webster 33 years ago. Sue’s husband Mel has always been quietly involved in the background providing support wherever needed. Mel was a partner in a Consulting Engineering firm based in West Wycombe and in the early days he arranged for Sue to base her fledgling consultancy in a small room in his office building in West Wycombe, High Street – the name of the building was (and still is) Aston House – so now you know where our name came from!
Mel has always provided timely support and advice and most recently has project managed our Greyhound Lane branch development – calling in expertise from his previous consulting engineering profession, quickly recognizing the importance of the hidden technical challenges such as having professional drawings of plans and service schemes, the complexity of the management of sound transfer, ventilation, heating, and safety. Working together with his retired colleague David Simcox they provided invaluable support to the building team.
When Sue first started in private practice, she was one of very few women business owners. At industry events she was often the only female in a crowd of ‘grey suits’ – on the flip-side Mel often found himself as part of the ‘wives club’ – enjoying the day trips that were organized for the families whilst the training and meeting took place for the business owners!
In his early 50’s Mel suffered sudden hearing loss. Despite quick action his hearing never recovered and so at this point he found himself on the other end of Sue’s business. Mel was very conscious of his hearing challenges but as is the case with many people, he was not that comfortable with the idea of wearing hearing aids that were visible. Fortunately, at this stage, tiny completely in-the-ear hearing technology was available, so Mel became a very willing guinea pig!
Some 15 years later Mel had another ear-based issue that was picked up by our audiologist Paula on a routine check. Paula spotted a cholesteatoma in Mel’s middle ear. This is a destructive and expanding growth that can cause significant damage if left untreated. Mel was immediately booked in with Ian Bottrill for surgery – it really does feel as though Mel has been sent to test out all our services!!
With the issues in the middle ear Mel moved to wearing a different style of hearing aid. Mel is now wearing on-the-ear devices that he really enjoys. He loves the connectivity of being able to stream audio from any device directly through his hearing aids. It is at this point that Mel has become a real advocate of hearing technology. He loves to tell people about how to ‘stream’ anything and everything through his hearing aids. He proudly demonstrates how his phone can be answered, streaming the signal to enable him to comfortably hear the conversation – whatever the background noise. Last week whilst in reception in our new Thame branch Mel was excited to be able to help one of our client’s set up BBC Sounds on her brand-new iPhone and introduce her to the joys of having everything from Desert Island Disc to BBC Proms delivered at just the right level, streamed effortlessly to both ears – hearing technology now is delivering benefits above and beyond what was ever expected. We are excited to dare to think that now technology really is helping to smash the stigma of wearing hearing aids once and for all.
So, there it is – The Audiologist’s Husband who has faithfully tracked the development of Aston Hearing and hearing technology over the past 3 decades – the unsung hero in our team! Thanks Dad x