About SoundSkills


SoundSkills: hearing skills for sound learning

SoundSkills is a specialist service for children and adults with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). SoundSkills provides a full range of diagnostic and treatment services in Auckland, New Zealand.

The SoundSkills Story

SoundSkills was started by Audiologist Dr Bill Keith to provide an expert comprehensive service for the management of APD, a neglected and under-funded area of hearing services. Having studied APD in the United States, and dismayed at the lack of APD services in New Zealand, Dr Keith brought together a multi-disciplinary team to set about developing better APD services in New Zealand.


SoundSkills Vision

SoundSkills' vision is to assist people with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) to hear normally.


SoundSkills Mission

SoundSkills' mission is:

to translate scientific research on APD into clinical practice

to offer comprehensive, expert and up-to-date diagnostic and treatment services for APD

to develop model APD services for others to follow

to advocate for better funding and services for people with APD

to increase awareness of APD.


SoundSkills Values

  • Ethical and professional services
  • A supportive and caring culture
  • Expert knowledge and advice

Soundskills team

Dr Bill Keith QSO PhD MNZAS


Dr Bill Keith is an audiologist with over twenty years public sector and twenty years private sector experience.


Bill was Principal Audiologist, National Audiology Centre, Department of Health, and was involved in establishing many hearing services and policies in New Zealand including the University of Auckland School of Medicine audiology training programme and New Zealand's first cochlear implant service. He has continued to consult on various national hearing policy issues.


He established the hearing aid company Phonak New Zealand Ltd (a subsidiary of the Swiss Sonova group) in New Zealand and managed it for eighteen years, earning a number of business awards during that time.


Bill has carried out hearing research in New Zealand and the United States.  He is also the inventor of an automated paediatric audiometer that was manufactured and exported from New Zealand for a number of years. 


With Phonak colleagues Bill was closely involved with Team New Zealand for over ten years in the development of specialised on-board crew communication systems for their Americas Cup yachts.


Bill has been awarded the honour of Companion of the Queen's Service Order for Public Service, a Fulbright Travel Award for his graduate studies at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and Life Memberships of the NZ Audiological Society and the Hearing Association, Auckland Branch. He is also a Past National President of the Hearing Association.


In 2011 he was awarded the International Award in Hearing by the American Academy of Audiology.


Over the past forty years Bill has served on numerous health, research, deafness, professional, business and voluntary organisation committees and Boards. He chairs the Northern Cochlear Implant Trust which manages government-funded cochlear implant services and is Deputy Chair of the associated Pindrop Foundation. He currently also serves on the Board of the Abilities Foundation Charitable Trust, the National Steering Team for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (Project HIEDI), and the Scientific Committee and Board of the Deafness Research Foundation.


Bill currently runs SoundSkills, a specialist clinic for children and adults with auditory processing disorder (APD), which he has established to redress the lack of APD services in New Zealand.

Janene Houghton MA DipAud


Janene is a highly experienced New Zealand audiologist, trained in New Zealand and Australia. After a period working in the field in New Zealand, Janene’s husband was posted to Hong Kong where they lived for 14 years, raising three daughters and travelling extensively.  Janene continued her Audiological work in a variety of roles including as a clinical tutor in the Hearing and Speech Sciences program and as Senior Research Assistant at the University of Hong Kong.   She established a neonatal hearing screening programme as part of a joint research and clinical services development project between the University and the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital at which facility she was also instrumental in setting up a private Audiological clinic.


From 2006 to 2014 Janene worked in the University of Auckland Hearing and Tinnitus Clinic specialising in Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), both working clinically and tutoring  students from the Master of Audiology Programme in APD clinical practice.  Janene brings her specialist interest and skills to SoundSkills to continue providing assessment and best practice remedial support for children and families dealing with the challenges of auditory processing difficulties.


Janene has a special interest in the benefits of active musical training and APD, enjoying her own involvement as a member of the prestigious a cappella group, the Stellar Singers.


Janene is well recognised as one of New Zealand’s most experienced clinicians in the field of Auditory Processing.


Jenny Coutts Dip Tchg, BEd, Grad Dip Lit Ed
Education Advisor

Jenny has 34 years’ experience as a primary school teacher, the last six years of which, she served as Deputy Principal and Special Education Needs Coordinator for her school.

Previously, Jenny had trained as a Resource Teacher for Literacy and worked in that role for two years, assisting children with literacy difficulties. As a Special Education Needs Coordinator, Jenny was responsible for services and care for all children with special needs in the school.

Jenny has undertaken additional special training in the management of Auditory Processing Disorder.


Oriole Wilson Clinic Manager

I currently work as a clinical audiologist and Clinic Manager at SoundSkills. 

I have been a practising audiologist for over 30 years in the public, private and university sectors in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. I did my postgraduate audiology training at the University of Melbourne and have a Master’s Degree in Audiology.  I have worked in many different areas of Audiology and this gives me a broad perspective on my field. 

Over the course of my career I have worked in the area of Auditory Processing Disorders on several occasions and this has now become a speciality. I am finding this to be a very satisfying part of audiology practice to work in. Undetected Auditory Processing Disorder can have a major impact of people’s lives and this is particularly noticeable for children in school settings.  It is also exciting to see the benefit that clients can achieve with the treatment we provide at SoundSkills. 

As I have many members of my own family with hearing loss, this allows me some special insights into the issues that hearing loss causes on family dynamics. Through my work at SoundSkills I can see this also applies to the effects of Auditory Processing Disorder on families.  

For the past 5 years I have been travelling to Kiribati (as a volunteer), with two colleagues where we are helping to provide hearing aid and ear nursing services to Deaf children in the Special School on Tarawa.

Joanna Wallace 


Joanna has been practicing as a clinical audiologist for the past 16 years. She has worked extensively in the areas of diagnostic and rehabilitation for both children and adults in the public and private audiology sectors. During this time, she was involved in the implementation of the early intervention audiology service for the New Born Hearing Screening Programme and spent time as Charge Audiologist. Her interest in providing access to hearing care for those most at need led to her start the Manukau Health Trust Audiology Clinic and then subsequently an independent audiology clinic, that has recently become part of a Nation wide hearing care group.

Joanna has experience working with children of all ages, cultures and backgrounds and has worked alongside many specialities and services including ENT Specialists, Paediatricians, Speech and Language Therapists and Ministry of Education Advisors. She has a particular interest in working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, behavioural concerns and those with specific learning difficulties. This has led her back to focus on working in the specialised area of Auditory Processing Disorders.

Joanna established the audiology clinic in Niue Island Foou Hospital in 2015. This provides upskilling of local healthcare workers as well as annual visiting audiology and hearing aid services to the local community. Joanna worked alongside the University of Auckland to help provide a screening service to all preschool and school age children on the Island and to assist in the integration of hearing health care into the ongoing local screening services.

Joanna has served as a Council Member for the National Foundation for the Deaf and is currently a member of the New Zealand Audiology Society.

Sarah Lawton 

Speech-Language Therapist

Sarah is a Speech and Language Therapist with a special interest in APD. She had previously worked in advertising as a copywriter before retraining and completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and Masters in Speech-Language Therapy (first class honours).

Sarah’s interest in APD began when she did her thesis on the subject and continued when she started working at the Ministry of Education – Special Education. In her role at the Ministry she worked with children under the age of 8 who had a variety of different needs. She also established relationships with primary schools and ran workshops with teacher’s, families and support staff. After four years she left to have her two children and went on to publish her APD research. During this time, she also started working part-time as a private therapist at Chatterbox Therapy with two fellow speech therapists.

Sarah enjoys collaborating with schools and families to create supportive environments for children with APD. She is now supporting Jenny Coutts as a part-time Education Advisor as well as continuing her role as a Speech-Language Therapist.