Meet the Team
No matter your hearing healthcare needs – our experts are truly always ready to help.
You might like to know a little (or a lot) about the experts you may meet, so let’s learn more about our experienced and friendly team.
Cardiff Hearing Owner
The University of Manchester PgDip CCC Audiology – Distinction 2010.
BSc (hons) Bioscience and Health – First Class – 2008
Sonja’s no new kid on the block. Since training as an Audiologist at The University of Manchester, she has had a highly varied career.
Sonja has worked in the NHS as a Senior Paediatric and Adult Audiologist, but that’s not all she’s been involved in.
Sonja’s worked with and consulted for two of the World’s largest hearing aid manufacturers where she trained and mentored Audiologists across both the public and private sectors.
Sonja’s often the keynote speaker at a number of Audiology conferences where she has spoken about areas such as Real Ear Measurement (a special bespoke test to measure how well your hearing aids are working in your ears), relaxation therapy for tinnitus, and how to work clinically with musicians as an audiologist.
Sonja has a real passion for helping those with tinnitus and because of this, you’ll find Sonja on the Professional Adviser’s Committee for the British Tinnitus Association.
The education of future Audiologists is important to Sonja and so she is a Clinical Assessor for student Audiologists and Hear Care Assistants.
Ears are important to Sonja not only in her working life but also in her hobbies. She’s a musician as well as an audiologist and was asked to join the BBC Philharmonic in a short BBC Documentary about Beethoven!
You’ll also often find Sonja on a SUP expedition or tackling waves in her kayak. Luckily this Audiologist comes packed full of knowledge about hearing protection to keep her ears safe during her hobbies!
When picking her team, she often thinks to herself “would I want them to look after my Mum?”. With the best team around her, Sonja cannot wait to welcome you to the clinic.
You can check out a documentary that features Sonja and Cardiff hearing here
Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser
Hannah had an interesting journey into audiology. During her time at the University of Chester, not only did she complete a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, but she also received an Outstanding Dedication to the Community award for providing over 200 hours of various volunteer work, including counselling teenagers. Her love of linguistics didn’t stop there as after graduating, she gained a Level 3 qualification in British Sign Language and volunteered at a Deaf festival.
After that, Hannah moved to Switzerland and helped families with young children, speaking French fluently along the way. Feeling inspired by the technological advances from CERN, Hannah wanted to return to the UK to learn a science-based subject. She found that Audiology was a perfect mixture of everything she enjoyed, and completed her degree at De Montfort University in Leicester, where she was presented with another award for Outstanding Dedication during her time there.
Using her qualifications and previous skills, Hannah worked for two national high-street hearing care companies, initially in a domiciliary role, then progressed to branch manager. She is now pleased to be providing bespoke, patient-centred care whilst utilising her strong clinical focus at Cardiff Hearing.
Being an enthusiastic learner, she is often found at audiology conferences discovering ways she can bring the best technology and latest approaches to care for her clients.
When she’s not bouldering or making cider from her own apple tree, Hannah plays for Newport’s korfball team in the Welsh Korfball League.
Cardiff Hearing Audiologist
University of Southampton with a BSc in Audiology in 2008
Mari stumbled into audiology when she realised that engineering wasn’t for her. Since discovering her true calling, Mari’s worked as a Clinical Audiologist in the NHS, as a technical trainer for a global audiological equipment manufacturer, and not to mention being employed as an audiologist for a variety of private hearing aid clinics.
Mari’s goal is to transform everybody’s life through sound. That’s why she’s not only worked with humans, but has also helped vets to perform hearing tests on dogs.
Most weekends Mari can be found dinghy sailing, which she fell in love with as a child and has competed nationally and internationally. Mari also loves to spend her time in the gym and has devoted several years to compete in Olympic lifting. Mari also likes to do yoga and drinking tea whilst crocheting to relax.
Cardiff Hearing Nurse
RN, Dip. N, BN (Hons.) PGCE, MSc
For more than 30 years, Andy has worked and built up his experience in many areas of nursing.
So, what’s he done? The question should really be “What hasn’t he done?”. From working clinically as a theatre nurse and in a variety of other disciplines, to being a lecturer at Cardiff University, to even editing a medical magazine. Andy also has papers published in medical journals worldwide.
We are thrilled to have such an accomplished human working with us.
Aside from work, Andy loves tinkering away in his allotment, cycling, and learning to play the ukulele.
Hear Care Assistant
Emma has been in the hearing industry for over seven years, starting in customer care with a large company, progressing to the position of team leader and being responsible for training new members of staff. Emma found that she had an interest in the technical side of hearing aids and enjoyed investigating and fixing issues to get patients hearing again. This led Emma to embark on a Hear Care Assistant (HCA) course and obtaining a qualification in aural microsuction, both of which we are proud to say she has passed with flying colours. Emma is looking forward to gaining knowledge and experience to enable her to help our patients as much as possible.
Before joining the hearing industry, Emma was a Corporal in the Royal Signals, training new recruits; we already feel like she is keeping us in line to ensure we are all really EARsome as a team.
In her spare time, Emma enjoys going for walks and hiking, having completed the Three Peaks Challenge for charity. Emma enjoys participating or competing in a wide range of sports, as well as supporting a variety of teams. When Emma’s not on the go, she loves nothing more than chilling out with her chihuahua Henry.
We all need a little help sometimes, let’s see our team of experts
FRCS (ORL-HNS), DOHNS MSc Med Ed, MBBS BSc (Hons)
Sometimes you need a medical opinion sooner rather than later. That’s why we’re thrilled to have our very own ENT Consultant, Ali Al-Hussaini, to refer our patients to.
Ali Al-Hussaini is a Consultant ENT Surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. We work closely with Ali to ensure you get first-class medical and audiological care from day one. Sometimes it’s best to weigh up your options. If we feel that you need a medical referral we always discuss the options of NHS care versus Private Care with you, to ensure the best route for you and your ears. If we both come to the conclusion that seeing a private consultant is your best route of care, we will refer you directly to Ali ourselves, and his secretary will be in touch with you to arrange an appointment. Quick as a flash!
So, who is the wonderful Ali Al-Hussaini? Since qualifying in 2009 with Distinctions in Basic Sciences and Clinical Practice from Imperial College London, Ali has undertaken all of his surgical training in the UK and was a specialist registrar on the All Wales ENT training programme. With a wide range of clinical knowledge, Ali is accomplished in all aspects of ear, nose and throat surgery, while holding a specialist interest in Paediatric ENT surgery and Facial Plastic Surgery. His expertise includes hearing, snoring, swallowing and voice disorders, so much so, he has delivered a number of international keynote lectures at the ENT World Congress.
During his career, Ali has received numerous prestigious awards from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh including the Surgeon in Training Medal in 2011, and their International ENT Masterclass Gold Medal in 2017. Ali was awarded the esteemed Surgical Research Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons in England in 2016 for pioneering research on immune responses to head and neck cancer.
Ali continues to excel in his field and career. He is the Section Editor for Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports, with his role developing a strong international reputation and collaborations with ENT Surgeons worldwide. When Ali isn’t reviewing multiple journals, including Clinical Otolaryngology or Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, you’ll find him running the London Marathon (he raised money for The Royal College of Surgeons of England Surgical Research Fund in 2016) or on the tennis court.
So, you can see why we’re super chuffed to have Ali to support your ears! What a guy!
Head of Adult Rehabilitation
Rachel Knappett has more than 20 years’ experience in Audiology and is currently the head of adult rehabilitation at Cambridge Universities Hospital Trust at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. As a Specialist Audiologist, she has extensive experience as the lead Audiologist for the tinnitus, teenage hearing services and single-sided deafness clinics at Addenbrooke’s Hosptial. She won the British Society of Audiology, Ruth Spencer Prize 2010/2011 for her service development work with teenagers. Further expertise includes the provision of customised hearing protection and hearing therapy. Rachel worked with the International Nepal Fellowship to Nepal to provide Audiology support on one of their ‘Ear Camps.’ She chairs the East of England professional tinnitus network and is on the Cambs Tinnitus Support Group committee.
Dr Eldré Beukes, is a Clinical Scientist in Audiology, who has gained widespread experience working in various NHS trusts. Her specialty lies in tinnitus, hearing aids, hearing implantable devices, and vestibular assessments. She has a PhD in Audiology, teaches students and is involved in numerous post-doctoral research projects. She has won the Marie and Jack Shapiro Prize from the British Tinnitus Association three years in a row for her research work on tinnitus (2017-2019). The Hallpike research prize was awarded by the British Association of Audiovestibular Physicians in 2019. In 2009 she received the Richard May prize from the British Academy of Audiology for the best training audiological scientist following her exams.
Auditory Processing Disorder Specialist
Richard opened Ear Care and Hearing in August 2018. He has been practising as an audiologist since 2000 and has significant experience in Neurotology, Paediatric Audiology, auditory-based learning disorders, balance disorders and amplification.
He received his Masters degree in Audiology from Missouri State University in 2000 and an MBA from Webster University in 2006.
Whilst Richard is based in the USA, we work exceptionally close with him when it comes to any patients we suspect to have Auditory Processing Disorder.
Richard’s clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating Auditory Processing Disorders has allowed him the opportunity to work with children and adults across the globe. He is one of less than approximately 100 audiologists globally that provide therapy to improve the auditory system processing in children and adults.
Anna trained as a Hearing Therapist at the City Lit. Centre for Deaf People and worked for the NHS across Essex, North East London and Camberwell South London.
Having spent 10 years with Sense, the National DeafBlind and Rubella Association, Anna retrained as a Registered Hearing Aid Audiologist, gaining her a private hearing aid dispensing license.
A qualified counsellor, Anna now provides an online specialist tinnitus counselling service and supports people with anxiety issues around vestibular dysfunction, misophonia and hyperacusis. “My specialist counselling services compliment the person-centred care delivered by the expert team at Cardiff Hearing, and I’m happy to work alongside Sonja and her team to enhance the lives of people with hearing difficulties.
So, what’s a Physiotherapist got to do with ears? Surprisingly, quite a lot! Tinnitus can be exacerbated by neck stiffness, muscle spasm and jaw problems, this is called somatosensory tinnitus. Over the years we’ve worked closely with Virginia to further assess patients with this type of tinnitus.
Virginia is a chartered physiotherapist with over 30 years of experience in treating musculoskeletal problems eg, back, neck and other joint pains.
Since being involved with Cardiff Hearing, Virginia’s interest in treating tinnitus patients has grown. Together we have had some positive outcomes with physiotherapy intervention which includes joint mobilisation, trigger point muscle techniques, posture and exercises. We can maintain these outcomes through continued self-management of exercises and postural correction.
Counsellor, Psychotherapist and tinnitus management
Debbie has over 27 years of experience in Tinnitus Management.
As a Senior Associate with The Royal Society of Medicine, she has focused on psychotherapy for anxiety, depression and for Tinnitus. Debbie has created the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Tinnitus E-program which is one of our go-to therapy programmes for clients with upsetting tinnitus. Once we have fully assessed you medically and your needs surrounding tinnitus, we may refer you to this programme – everyone is different when it comes to tinnitus.
It’s super-important to us that we work holistically. Sometimes, problems that we may initially think are to do with your hearing could have been caused by other parts of your body.
As such, we have linked up with iCare Clinics, so we can quickly refer you to their opticians, podiatrists, and chiropractors for further assistance if necessary. iCare is an independent family business with their HQ directly below ours, and so you could consider our home a bit of a one-stop shop for all your healthcare needs.
Speech and Language Therapist
Elmarie is our extremely chEARful and highly qualified Speech and Language Therapist. Elmarie trained in South Africa where she has a dual qualification in SALT and Audiology. Whilst she doesn’t work as an Audiologist in the UK, it’s brilliant to have a SALT to turn to with a strong background in Audiology.
We refer any children or adults we feel require SALT assessment and assistance. No matter who you are, you can’t fail to have a fun and relaxed experience with Elmarie – she’s rather super duper.
Independent General Practice
Fully Qualified GPs
We’re extremely pleased to tell you about our partnership with Independent General Practice. The pandemic brought a few things to the surface, but what was crystal clear was that despite the fact we love the NHS, it’s not always that easy to see your GP due to the extra pressures they are under.
So, for any concerns that arise in the clinic that may need addressing medically sooner rather than later, we can refer you directly to the private GPs, nurses and specialists at Independent General Practice in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Bristol.
We want you to feel comfortable when coming to see us with any problems, big or small!