Hearing loss & Hearing Link
An estimated 10 million people in the UK live with some degree of hearing loss – that’s nearly one in five people. Deafness is the second largest disability in the UK.
But hearing loss is an invisible disability – we can’t see it so it goes unnoticed. Yet the impact of hearing loss can be devastating, and not only to the person concerned but also for partners and family members. Hearing loss doesn’t just have an impact now and again; it is there all the time, cutting across all aspects of life: at home, at work, at leisure.
Hearing Link is the UK hearing loss organisation that helps people, including family members, to adjust and to manage the practical, social and emotional challenges that hearing loss can bring.
We understand how hard it can be to come to terms with losing some or all of your hearing in adult life. We know that many people will struggle for years before they acknowledge or disclose, even to people close to them, that their hearing has deteriorated. Others, who experience sudden and profound hearing loss, can feel shattered, desperate and traumatised. To everyone, the challenges can feel overwhelming and isolating.
Hearing Link makes it easy for people to find the information they need and the services and support that is relevant and appropriate for their situation and circumstances. We also makes it easy for people to connect with others who have similar experiences so mutual support can be provided and advice and knowledge can be shared.
On top of this, we encourage people to voice their views and concerns in order to encourage better provision for people with hearing loss. By bringing people together in this way, we give people living with hearing loss a strong and powerful means of influencing and shaping services.
Few people are aware that hearing loss is a complex medical condition and that each person experiences it in a different way. It is influenced by the circumstances of the individual, their lifestyle, ambitions, career, as well as their personality, support network – and, of course, the level of their hearing loss and the length of time they have lived with hearing loss.
This means that there can be wide variations in what people need from Hearing Link and how they use it. The most crucial aspect of Hearing Link, however, is that it ‘empowers’ people to manage their circumstances and all services are geared towards ‘enabling’ them to do so.
Our services include:
Our helpdesk – we deliver a responsive, personalised Helpdesk function accessed by phone, textphone, SMS, email, and letter. Routine enquiries are answered immediately; more complex enquiries are handled by an extensive advisory panel of volunteers and professionals who can offer the time needed to ensure full and comprehensive responses.
Our volunteer network – volunteers are at the heart of Hearing Link and are a crucial part of the delivery of our services. This includes our trained and experienced Community Support Volunteers and Email Buddies who provide one-to-one support in person or remotely. Other volunteers assist in general ways, including delivering presentations, raising awareness, fundraising, and information research.
Our website – provides high quality and impartial factual information and a wealth of experiential articles, blogs and advice. It is fully integrated with our social media activities and has a healthy amount of traffic. A panel of volunteers (largely hearing impaired) oversee and help shape the content.
Our consultation & research activities – We encourage individuals to make their views or concerns known via local and national consultation activities organised by other organisations, and through our own consultation activities. We also commission and participate in research studies designed to enhance the quality of life of people with hearing loss, and help disseminate relevant research findings.
Our specialised support services - We provide specialised courses where these are not otherwise available. Our Intensive Rehabilitation Programmes help individuals and family members whose lives have been devastated by profound hearing loss, or other specific hearing loss issues, to begin the long process of adapting and adjusting to their circumstances. Our Self Management Courses provide practical and emotional support for people with moderate hearing loss. We also train others to deliver these courses so they can be made available on a local and regional basis.
Our membership scheme – provides people with the opportunity to become more closely associated with Hearing Link and to show their support for our invaluable work. The scheme is open to individuals, as well as local groups and clubs that provide support or social opportunities for people with hearing loss, and other organisations that wish to show their support for our work.
Our service users
We meet the needs of our service users in a variety of ways, according to the circumstances and wishes of the individual concerned. For instance:
If someone is just becoming concerned about hearing loss, we can direct them to:
- impartial information about hearing loss and the options for acquiring hearing aids
- support groups and useful services in their local area
- others who have similar experiences and can offer advice and knowledge
- statutory bodies and other charitable organisations that can assist
If someone is struggling, depressed or withdrawn, we can provide:
- one-to-one emotional support, either in person or via correspondence or telephone
- details of appropriate services and organisations that can support them, and we can assist them in approaching these services
- specialised self-management or rehabilitation services run by Hearing Link
If someone wants to become more connected with others who have hearing loss or more active in shaping service provision, we can:
- give them details of support and social groups in their local area
- advise them about events, public consultations and other activities run by Hearing Link
23 The Waterfront
Phone: 0300 111 1113
Fax: 01323 471 260