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Young alumni

Zoë Hector

24 July 2023

MAud(Dist) 2018

Mayor and Founder of Talk Town


Improving the Lives of Deaf Kids

Zoë Hector didn’t realise the impact growing up with a deaf sibling had on her until she started studying child development and psycholinguistics.  She then went on to complete her Masters of Audiology and currently works as a Clinical Audiologist using both cutting edge technology and counseling skills to make dramatic improvements to people’s quality of life. “Sometimes my patients cry with happiness because they can hear their grandkids for the first time. Enabling people to hear well vastly improves their overall health and quality of life. Getting to fiddle around with cool hearing technology is pretty fun, too. I can't imagine a more rewarding job.”

In 2018 Zoë founded Talk Town, a social enterprise to improve outcomes for deaf kids. Talk Town began as a class assignment as part of her Masters of Audiology degree at the University of Canterbury and was supported by the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Talk Town aims to improve the school experience for deaf kids by equipping them with the social skills required to fully participate in mainstream classrooms. The digital game provides an opportunity for them to learn and practice vital self-advocacy and social skills in a fun and engaging manner. She is currently exploring opportunities to ensure that Talk Town can be made available to as many deaf and hard of hearing kids in mainstream schools as possible. Talk Town can be downloaded on tablets or computers on Google Play and the App Store. 

After several years of working behind a desk and feeling like she wasn’t making an impact, Zoë chose to study Audiology as it allows her to work more directly with people. She enjoys developing new and creative solutions in the field of audiology and is motivated by seeing the flow-on effects of enhanced communication by her patients’ families and communities

Did your University experience differ from your expectations?

Compared to my undergrad studies, my Masters at UC was very focused and industry orientated. I found the way information was delivered had changed a bit since my undergrad years - I had to upskill in online learning and technology to get the most out of it. 

I never dreamed I would become a business person - with the support of UCE I'm now a social entrepreneur as well as clinician. Creating Talk Town has opened up so many incredible experiences and opportunities.

What advice would you give to potential UC students?

Check out what job you think you're aiming for and see if it's really what you think it is. Professionals are supportive of motivated students and are often happy to chat to you about what they do or let you shadow them for a day. Make the most of all the incredible support available on campus, including the careers centre, learning support, and UCE. Strive to find out what you're good at, what you enjoy, and what you can get paid for - then go for it. 

Find out more about Talk Town at

or email


Check out Zoë Hector, one of our Champions for Change profiles in our 150th Alumni Showcase here.

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