Audiology: Kristen Sutcliffe

Kristen Sutcliffe combines her training in music and audiology to provide a unique programme for clients with hearing loss to rediscover and enjoy music again.


What led you to study at the University of Melbourne?
The University of Melbourne has always been known as the home of audiology in Australia. It is a theoretically strong course that sets you up well for life in audiology. It also doesn’t hurt that the institution is in a great, liveable city.

What are your strongest memories of your time at the University of Melbourne?
A wonderfully sociable cohort! We had lots of fun, interspersed with study of course.

What goals did you set yourself when you finished University and have you stuck to that plan?  
My goal was to get out of my comfort zone. Before kids, I did quite a bit of work in Indigenous communities in the NT, which was great but I certainly fulfilled that goal!

What/who motivated you at University?
The amazing lecturers and quality of teaching, seeing their research projects was always inspiring.

What motivates you now?
Helping people in need.

What advice do you have for current students?
Take opportunities when they arise, you never know where they will lead you!

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Creating and running a programme called ‘Rediscovering Music’ through the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO). My first undergraduate degree was a BMus(Hons) from the ANU and I am lucky enough to play in the CSO.

For the last 4 years I have been designing and running ‘Rediscovering Music’, a programme to help adults with hearing loss ‘rediscover’ and enjoy music again. We also run a paediatric programme for kids with hearing loss.

What do you most love about your career?
The variety. One day I’m doing central auditory processing disorder testing, the next cortical auditory evoked potential testing to see if a baby has access to the speech spectrum with their hearing aids. The day after I may be working with a deaf-blind adult or fitting a newly released bone anchored hearing aid – every day is different and interesting.

What excites you most about the future?
From an audiological perspective, changes in technology and how these can help our clients.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you like to invite for dinner and why?
Helen Keller, to learn more about her inner strength in overcoming obstacles and advocating for her passions.

What does being successful mean to you?
Firstly, having a balanced life with family coming first and being a happy individual. Having a job that you enjoy where you have the capacity to make a difference in peoples lives and being respected and recognised by your workmates for the quality of your work.