With festival season in full swing, we remember to pack sunscreen to protect our skin from the long hours in the sun and sunglasses to protect our eyes from the blinding lights - both natural and stage lights! Many of us forget to also protect our hearing! We sat down with audiologist Oliver Townend, and spoke to him on hearing, travel, and his favorite watch - the Ray Raven
When did you become interested in audiology?
I found audiology by accident. I originally set out studying law at university, but dropped out after two years. I was considering a career in medicine when I stumbled on audiology. I love it - it's a real mix of pure sciences, technology, personal experiences and emotions. Hearing loss can have a psychological and emotional impact on most people; It effects even in its mildest forms and it is incredibly rewarding to help rehabilitate clients. Hearing aid technology is always moving forward and now they integrate with other devices such as TV and smartphones almost seamlessly, so they feel more like lifestyle products. Nothing is as good as natural hearing so, it is a real case of prevention being better than cure. I am an advocate for hearing protection and regular hearing testing.
What did you think you were going to do growing up?
I thought I would end up as an architect or working in copywriting/advertising making up catchy slogans.
Tell us about where you've lived!
I grew up in the Cotswolds in the UK. Surrounded by beautiful rolling green hills and country pubs. Ended up going to the same school as William Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon but his dramatic skills didn't rub off on me, unfortunately. My last few years were spent in Bristol, UK - such a great city - before moving to Melbourne in Australia almost two years ago.
How is having a wristwatch helpful in your every day life (work or play)?
I feel naked without a watch. In meetings and appointments with clients, I find it provides a discreet way of checking the time. I spend time on my phone, emailing and on calls, so I prefer not to get my phone out just to check the time. I also have customers in different time zones across Australia - Perth is 3 hours behind Melbourne for instance - so having a reference when you're talking on the phone is essential. As a rule, I always keep my watch on Melbourne time when I am away in Perth so I know what time my head office is working on!
You've traveled quite a bit, and have to travel for work - where is the best place you've ever visited?
When travelling for work my favourite place to visit is Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. It feels like home and they make some great whisky there. It was whisky that took me to Islay off the west coast of Scotland. We took my grandfather on a whisky tour for his 80th birthday. The trip to the island stuck in my memory because I went with family, and we drank a lot of great scotch whisky in beautiful surroundings. I can picture it now: The crystal clear water and the view over to Jura, an neighbouring island from the Coal Ila distillery.
You used to work at a live music club that is also a boat in Bristol... Tell us about that!
Thekla has been in Bristol Harbour for over 30 years and is a bar, nightclub, and live music venue on a converted cargo ship. It had a famous Banksy piece on the side of the hull, but I think it is now in a Bristol museum. I was mainly working at the bar, but would also DJ on a regular basis with my friend Pat who still works on the boat.
What was the weirdest thing you found out about after living in Australia?
I think for most people coming here in winter, would be seeing Aussie-Rules Football. I've become a fan of Australian Rules Football. It is a winter sport played on a cricket oval, 18 players for each team on the field at a time and it is a full contact sport. I'm a North Melbourne Kangaroos fan. Go Kangas!
Talk about the watch you got, why did you pick it? What's your favorite thing about it?
I picked the Ray Raven. The design stood out to me as a classic; Loved the black colours and the uncluttered face. I wear it everyday - so having an automatic means it is always running. I have worn an automatic watch since I was 18, and I can't imagine wearing anything else.
If you could go anywhere, any time past/future/present - where would you go and why?
I would go to the future, and take a day trip to the moon.
One-time DJ/promoter Oliver Townend is an audiologist working for Widex, a hearing-aid manufacturer in Australia. In the clinic, audiologists diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate hearing and balance disorders. You can follow him on instagram here: @Olliekid