An interview with Julie Beadle

December 05, 2023

Welcome Julie Beadle to the Gerontology Research Centre! As a postdoctoral fellow, Beadle will apply her background in audiology to improve the accessibility of hearing health care for older adults.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I completed my PhD at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour, and Development, Western Sydney University (Australia). This experimental work examined sensory and cognitive factors that influence older adults’ ability to communicate in situations with background noise. Prior to starting at the GRC I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Adult Language Processing and Disorders Lab (UBC, Audiology and Speech Sciences) under the supervision of Professor Jeff Small. My projects at the ALPD Lab focused on: 1) aging and social perceptions of hearing aids and 2) effective communication for persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing and live in long-term care homes. I also enjoy teaching and have taught a variety of Psychology courses at Langara College, including Adulthood and Aging.

2. What research are you currently working on?

My projects at the GRC will focus on the intersection between hearing loss, hearing aid use, and social isolation in older adults. I will also collaborate with the Tong Louie Living Laboratory on assistive technology development and innovation.

3. How do you hope to apply your research?

British Columbia currently lags behind other provinces and territories when it comes to consistent hearing health coverage, particularly for older adults. I hope that my research will support initiatives aiming to improve the accessibility of hearing health care for older Canadians.

4. What brought you to Simon Fraser University and the GRC?

My PhD and initial postdoctoral research have focused on communication challenges that older adults experience as a result of age-related changes in hearing and cognition. As an extension of this work, I became interested in the relationship between hearing loss and social network characteristics at a population level. This fit well with Professor Andrew Wister’s existing work on social isolation, which brought me to the GRC. The GRC was highly recommended by my previous supervisor, Professor Jeff Small, who also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the GRC.

5. What inspired you to study aging/gerontology?

During my undergraduate degree in Psychology at St. Francis Xavier University, I completed a service-learning placement at a long-term care home. This experience initially sparked my interest in studying aging, and in particular, the impact of hearing loss on communication.

6. What interests do you have outside of your research?

I sing in a local choir, Westcoast Harmony Chorus. I also enjoy skiing, and spending time with friends and family.

7. What are your goals for your time at the GRC?

During my time at the GRC, I would like to develop new projects that include hearing loss data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. I would also like to establish new academic, community, and industry collaborations.