skip to content
3-7 May, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia

Aram Glorig Oration

Professor Adrian Davis, OBE FFPH FSS FRSA PhD

Adrian Davis

Professor Adrian Davis is the Director of Population Health Science at Public Health England. He is the lead advisor to NHS England for Audiology and gives strategic advice to the National Screening Programme. He has been Director of the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) and the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Screening Programme (NIPE) for the Department of Health for whom he was also lead advisor for physiological diagnostics and audiology. Adrian was involved in the transformation and evaluation of NHS services across a variety of settings, including notably working on quality standards for audiology services in England and Scotland. He has a major interest in innovation and how the healthcare workforce can better use knowledge, information and technologies to transform and improve service quality and patient experience. He worked as a lead scientist with the UK Medical Research Council and has received a DH lifetime achievement award for his research and scientific contribution to healthcare in the NHS. In 2007 he was awarded a national honour for his work in improving healthcare in the UK. He has published 250+ articles, chapters and books about his research and associated service development. His current interests are in the Global Burden of Disease, working at Public Health England. He is especially interested in how hearing health impacts on community engagement and people's wellbeing.

Hearing and Communication across the lifecourse – a major public health concern!

Hearing and communication are central to everything that we do! The impact of hearing loss on communication,
social participation and on ageing well is plain to see for those involved in audiology. The world doesn't see it that way. This is a major public health problem in our midst. But it is not taken seriously by the world's policy makers, including the UN, WHO, national and local governments! So why don't other professions and populations see this major GROWING ISSUE? What can we do to change that perception?

The Global Burden of Disease studies show the importance of understanding the population approach to health over the lifecourse. It distinguishes between things that kill us and those that ail us and importantly the trends in these over time. It then tries to partition risk across different sorts of factors so that policy decisions can be made about how to reduce the impact of amenable risks. Hearing is not an underlying cause of death, even though there is emerging evidence that raised hearing thresholds are associated with earlier mortality. Across the lifecourse
the key importance of hearing is in being a major channel of communication – to develop language and cognition, to benefit from education, to gain and maintain good employment, form family ties and contribute to and participate in society. The major role of Population Hearing Health in determining and maintaining the good health and wellbeing of the population is unrecognised by society. Over the last 25 years there has been a steady decline in premature mortality in most countries and an increase in life expectancy. However the burden has shifted from mortality to morbidity, with the inevitable costs in managing many more people with morbidity and increasingly multi - morbidity. What do we need to do in terms of creating the best strategy for research, translation and implementation to inform policy makers, clinicians and populations about the crucial role of hearing and communication in creating added healthy years to life? Perhaps, we should look at the success of newborn hearing screening, how it creates the first and best chance to promote population hearing health across the life-course and learn from that about how we can personalise the message and support for those whose need is
greatest. There are other examples such as the success of cochlear implants and the great publicity they generate. But there is very little carry over to other areas? Why? A global problem needs a personalised local
solution. We can create that solution by co-creating a winning narrative for our times to influence those outside our society