Hearing Care for All: Meet Josie | Telethon Speech & Hearing
Josie Sullivan Hearing Awareness Week Staff Profile

Hearing Awareness Week – Meet Josie

March 1-7 marks Hearing Awareness Week, a time to raise community awareness of hearing loss and ways to protect your hearing.

Marked by the theme ‘Hearing care for ALL‘, Hearing Awareness Week calls upon governments to integrate ear and hearing care into national health plans.

In the spirit of this global campaign, Telethon Speech & Hearing is highlighting a number of individuals in our organisation who bring excellence, inclusivity and a wealth of knowledge to their roles and make our centre such a delightful place for our families and children.

By raising awareness of these important educational and healthcare roles, we aim to take stock of the current status (or lack thereof) of hearing care support available in our community and be a source of inspiration towards improving the lives of those impacted by or at risk of hearing loss and ear diseases.


Josie Sullivan Hearing Awareness Week Staff Profile

Today’s highlighted staff member is our Teacher of the Deaf, Josie Sullivan:

  • About my role at Telethon Speech & Hearing

Josie: I completed my training as a Teacher of the Deaf in 2002 and my final placement was with Geoff Reader at the St. Luke’s Catholic Primary School Outpost program. It was such a wonderful experience I applied for a position at Telethon Speech & Hearing and began the following year. I had a three-year stint (2009-2011) in the Hearing Unit at Yarra Valley Grammar, Melbourne which was structured very differently to Telethon Speech & Hearing and was a huge learning curve.  But the pull of family brought me back to Perth and I returned to Telethon Speech & Hearing in 2012. That’s 15 years at Telethon Speech & Hearing… and counting!

Working as a Teacher of the Deaf in the Outpost program is about supporting students with a hearing loss as they learn in mainstream schools. We work closely with classroom teachers, education assistants and other Telethon Speech & Hearing staff like speech and occupational therapists, audiologists and psychologists in a team approach with the needs of the child as our focus. We work alongside parents and families as we look at the development of the whole child and not just their academic achievements.


  • Something I’m looking forward to in 2021…

J: I’m currently sourcing young-adult novels which have characters who have a hearing loss. I’d like to develop a library and share these books with teenagers and families to show them different perspectives of living with a hearing loss. There are some wonderful novels being published that we can all learn from.


  • The most common question I get asked is…

J: “What do you do all day?”  My immediate response is, “I talk and play with kids all day!” It looks easy from the outside.


  • In my role, I am most passionate about…

J: Getting the opportunity to work 1:1 with our students is very special. To have the time to focus on one person, give them your undivided attention and focus on exactly what they need is getting harder and harder as a teacher. Schools are such busy places. I love it when a student comes into the Telethon Speech & Hearing room and just wants to sit and talk in the quiet. That’s when you know you’ve really connected.


  • About my favourite word

J: My favourite word is “REALLY?” I know it’s not hearing-related, but no matter what a child tells you, when you say “Really?” in a pause it’s hilarious. It makes them want to tell more, to justify their story, to tell you their truth, to go into such elaborate detail that there’s no turning back!  That one word can be said in so many ways and has bought me many hours of joy.


  • My thoughts on how a student could look after a friend who has a hearing loss

J: One thing my students hate is missing out on the social banter and when they ask their friends, “What did he say?” they get told, “It doesn’t matter.” But it does matter. I always encourage friends to take the time to repeat what was said because everyone wants to be part of the conversation.


Learn more about Telethon Speech & Hearing’s Outpost program and our school locations around Western Australia, click here.


Continue to visit our website from March 1-7 for more amazing stories and insights from our dedicated team at Telethon Speech & Hearing. Visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about how you can support the global call for action against hearing loss and promoting ear/hearing care across the world. #HearingAwarenessWeek #Hearathon2021 #WorldHearingDay #HearingCare #SafeListening