For some years audiology has had a close relationship with optometry, with an increasing number of optical practices electing to offer their patients audiology services as a part of their clinical offering.

Paul Surridge, previously CEO of the Sight Care Group and now Chairman of BIHIMA (British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association) met recently with the Incoming Chairman of the FMO, Stuart Burn, and his colleagues to talk about areas of commonality, and how the two organisations could collaborate in the future.

According to Surridge “There are many parallels between Optics and Audiology and having spent almost twenty years in the former at Sight Care, I recognise that more can be done to promote the optical/hearing care agenda. The two manufacturing organisations have a lot to contribute to the debate”.

The meeting was held at FMO offices in London and covered a wide agenda. Optrafair and the possibility of audiology having a greater presence at the event was a key topic with both sides agreeing to explore opportunities to reflect the closeness of the sectors.

“Optrafair is an excellent event and the FMO has innovative plans for its future. We’ll be keen to see how those plans evolve and if BIHIMA members and audiologists could be encouraged to attend in greater numbers”, said Surridge.

Paul Surridge, BIHIMA Chairman


Recent studies have laid bare the number of people in Europe that suffer from undiagnosed hearing loss, a recent report from Hear-It highlighted that over 3 million people in the UK live with an untreated hearing loss, which costs the economy an estimated £25.5 billion a year. Similarly partial sight loss affects around 2 million people in the UK, and this is expected to rise to 2.4 million by 2024, according to Vision UK.

Stuart Burn concluded: “We had a very productive meeting with Paul who I’ve known for many years during his time at Sight Care. The two professions, optics and hearing, have similar goals and we are keen to explore how the two manufacturing organisations could collaborate to raise awareness of sight loss and hearing loss in the future. The FMO is currently reviewing its programme of activity and working with BIHIMA on joint projects seems an obvious fit”.

Stuart Burn, Incoming Chairman, FMO


Notes for editors:

– BIHIMA represents the hearing instrument manufacturers of Britain and Ireland, working in partnership with other professional, trade, regulatory and consumer organisations within the health care and charitable sectors. We raise consumer awareness about the latest hearing technology, and aim to influence government and policy makers to improve the lives of people with hearing difficulties.

– For further information visit

– FMO is the Federation of Manufacturing opticians, providing innovation, insight and excellence for the whole of the optical industry. We provide a thriving network for companies engaged in all aspects of manufacturing, distribution and supply of spectacle and contact lenses, lenses, ophthalmic instruments and equipment, as well as providers of business services to optical practices.

– For further information visit

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