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Simon Dafydd Glyn Stephens

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 31 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6491
  1. Linda M Luxon

Simon Dafydd Glyn Stephens (“Dai”) brought both compassion and academic authority to the previously neglected discipline of adult auditory rehabilitation. As an international authority and outspoken advocate for people with impaired hearing, he spearheaded the development, nationally and internationally, of improved care for adults with hearing impairments. He was instrumental in establishing a new medical specialty, audiovestibular medicine, and contributed to the training of virtually every consultant physician in specialty in the UK.

Stephens was born in Caerfyrddin. Both his parents were teachers, and he developed the academic fascination and rigour that formed the cornerstone of his career. As a young child he spent much time in the company of a district nurse, travelling the countryside in her car. They spoke Welsh together, and from her and a Welsh couple to whom he became very close after the family moved to London, Stephens acquired the lifelong hallmark of his strong Welsh identity and passion for the Welsh language.

He attended Whitgift School in Croydon from 1952 to1959 and then entered Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, where he won the Huxley Prize. His interest in audiology was sparked when, after graduating with a first degree in physiology from London University, he spent a summer vacation as a research Fellow at the University of Iowa in 1962. There he met Professor Ronald Hinchcliffe, a co-founder of audiological medicine, who remained a firm friend and colleague until his death in 2011. On returning to Charing Cross …

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