Mrs Sarah Hughes BSc, MHSc, MRCSLT

Mrs Sarah Hughes

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR)
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sarah Hughes is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR). She currently works for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands, Long Term Conditions theme.  

Sarah is interested in social hearing science and mixed-methods research relating to the development, evaluation, and implementation of patient reported outcome measures.


  • Research Fellow
  • MHSc in Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, 1996
  • BSc in Biology and Psychology, Acadia University, 1994
  • MRCSLT (current)
  • HCPC registered (current)


Sarah received her Master of Health Science in speech-language pathology from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1996. For most of her career she has practiced in the NHS as a speech and language therapist, specialising in hearing impairment.  In 2014, Sarah commenced her PhD studies at Swansea University Medical School, Wales, UK where she is a James Callaghan Scholar. Her PhD research has focussed on the development and validation of a new patient reported outcome measure of listening effort in adult cochlear implant recipients.  Sarah has also worked on a number of other qualitative and mixed-methods studies, including collaborations with the Australian Hearing Hub and the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. 

She joined the Centre for Patient Reported Outcome Research (CPROR) at the Institute of Applied Health, University of Birmingham in April 2020.


Teaching second year Audiology students as a guest lecturer, Swansea University, 2015 – 2020.


Sarah is currently working as a Research Fellow for the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations, West Midlands, Long Term Conditions theme. 

Research groups and centres:

Other activities

Leadership roles

  • Core Member, Adult Rehabilitation Special Interest Group, British Society of Audiology
  • Member, MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Outcomes Working Group (PRO theme)


  • Best poster prize (2019): British Cochlear Implant Group Academic Meeting (Southampton)
  • Invited speaker, Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication conference (CHSCOM2019) (Linköping, Sweden 2019)
  • Visiting Scholar, Australian Hearing Hub (2016-2019)
  • Rising Star, Research & Innovation Awards (2018): Swansea University 
  • Graham Fraser Travel Bursary (2018): British Cochlear Implant Group
  • James Callaghan Scholarship (2017): Swansea University
  • Awarded the PhD Student Scholarship to attend the Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication  conference (CHSCOM2017) (Linköping, Sweden 2017)
  • Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Minor Grant
  • Best poster prize (2016): British Society of Audiology
  • Best poster prize (2015): Swansea University Medical School Post-graduate Research Conference

Society memberships

  • British Society of Audiology (BSA)
  • British Cochlear Implant Group (BCIG)
  • International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL)

Peer review

  • Reviewer, Joint Study Review Committee (JSRC), Abertawe-Bro Morgannwg University Health Board-Swansea University (2017-2019)
  • Reviewer for various scientific journals


Rapport, F., Hughes S.E., Boisvert, I., McMahon, C., Braithwaite, J., Faris, M., Bierbaum, M. (2020). Adults’ cochlear implant journeys through care: A qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research.20, 457. 

Hughes, S.E., Rapport, F., Watkins, A., Boisvert, I., McMahon, C.M., Hutchings, H.A. (2019).  Study protocol for the validation of a new patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) of listening effort in cochlear implantation: The Listening Effort Questionnaire-Cochlear Implant (LEQ-CI). BMJ Open.9(7):e028881. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028881.

Bierbaum, M., McMahon, C.M., Hughes, S.E., Boisvert, I., Braithwaite, J., Rapport, F., (2019). Barriers and facilitators to cochlear implant uptake in Australia and the United Kingdom. Ear and Hearing. DOI: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000762

Holman, J., Drummond, A., Hughes, S.E., Naylor, G. (2019). Hearing impairment and daily-life fatigue: A qualitative study. International Journal of Audiology. DOI: 10.1080/14992027.2019.1597284

Dobbs, T., Samarendra, H., Hughes, S.E., Hutchings, H.A., Whitaker, I. (2019). Patient reported outcome measures for facial skin cancer: a systematic review and evaluation of their methodological and psychometric qualities. Br J Dermatol. 180(5):1018-1029.

Rees, N., Rapport, F., Snooks, H., Hughes, S., John, A. (2018). The development of an Evolved Grounded Theory to explain Paramedics’ Perceptions of the care they provide to people who self-harm. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205813.

Dobbs, T., Hughes, S., Mowbray, N., Hutchings, H., Whitaker, I. (2018). How to decide which patient-reported outcome measure to use? A practical guide for plastic surgeons. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. 71(7): 957-966. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2018.03.00

Rapport, F. Bierbaum, M., McMahon, C.M., Boisvert, I., Lau, A. Braithwaite, J., Hughes, S. (2018). A qualitative, multi-phase study of behavioural and attitudinal responses to cochlear implantation in Australia and the United Kingdom: study protocol. BMJ Open;8(5) e019623. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019623.

Hughes, S.E., Hutchings, H., Rapport, F., Boisvert, I., McMahon, C. (2018). Social connectedness and perceived listening effort in adult cochlear implant users: A Grounded Theory to establish content validity for a new patient-reported outcome measure. Ear and Hearing. 39(5):922-934.

View all publications in research portal