"I was surprised and a little overwhelmed."

Claire Benton

BAA Board Director and Conference Lead, Claire Benton, was presented with the BSA Ruth Spencer prize at the Society’s annual conference in June. The Ruth Spencer prize is made in recognition of a contribution to clinical services by a registered practitioner. Benton received the 2018 award for her work with children and young people with tinnitus. She has spoken about her surprise at winning and the importance of children and young people having access to tinnitus services.

Congratulations on winning the BSA Ruth Spencer prize. How did you feel when you heard you had won?

Thank you, I was surprised and a little overwhelmed. I love nominating colleagues and my team for awards and generally have always considered them to be things other people get. I’m lucky enough to get to read all nominations for the BAA annual awards and it is one of my favourite parts of organising the conference as you get to hear of so much good work that is going on around the UK and the inspiring things other are doing. People put a lot of passion into their nominations, I guess it is quite difficult to think someone did that for me.

The BSA state you were given the award for your ‘original work on tinnitus in children and young people’. Can you offer us more insight into this?

I was part of the original working group that put together the BSA Practice guidelines for working with children with tinnitus and since then have been part of the team who put together the BTA training course and have given many talks around the country on the subject. It still feels so very wrong that children don’t have the same access to support for their tinnitus as adults do given the prevalence figures are so similar, despite our work. Partly I feel that this is because we section off topics in audiology and unfortunately paediatric audiology and tinnitus haven’t fallen into the same camp in places. Children with tinnitus should be seen by healthcare professionals with good family-friendly skills, and hopefully the message that all children should be asked whether they have tinnitus (just like adults are) is getting out there. Main my part in the training of others is to show just how much fun these clinics can be, people are missing out!

Where is your certificate now?

It is in my office at work, it looks a little lonely – I’m either going to have to try for a few more certificates or get a smaller wall!

Perhaps someone should nominate Claire for a BAA award! Actually, as Conference Lead she’s probably not allowed to be entered, but you and your colleagues are definitely welcome. You just have to be a BAA member. Nominations are now open for the 2019 awards. Find out more and nominate someone online here.