Seeing is Hearing (Wiltshire)

The project runs innovative and educative lip reading support sessions with a trained facilitator. 

The organisation:

A new organisation most of whom are themselves affected by hearing loss and passionate about addressing the lack of access to lip reading classes. The project runs innovative and educative weekly support sessions where a trained facilitator will work with the participants to help them learn how to manage their hearing loss in a hearing world.  The sessions cover regaining lost confidence; . communication strategies for when in difficult situations; learning how to make needs known; coping with background noise; the theory of lipreading & general everyday management of hearing loss.

The Project 

The grant requested will cover venue hire, fee for the trained facilitator, refreshments for during the ‘Communication Practice in Everyday Situations’ part of the sessions, plus administration costs (printing, photocopying etc).

Deafness is THE most isolating disability and the only one where communication is a major issue.  One in six of the population have hearing loss.  This leads people to give up work early and withdraw from social and family occasions when communication becomes just too difficult to manage. Everyday tasks which most people take for granted, such as shopping, going to the bank etc. are so much more difficult when you can’t hear what people are saying to you.  People withdraw from society and become isolated and this can result in loss of confidence and depression.  The issues and problems we are planning to tackle are to provide people with the skills needed to stay in work, if appropriate, and to manage their hearing loss in a hearing world to avoid the social isolation that this disability brings.

What you hoped to achieve:

It is the inability to manage communication that holds people back from achieving their potential in life.  This project will enable them to learn skills enabling them to enter further education and/or undertake training courses that will enhance their career prospects and/or allow them to learn expertise in other areas.  They will learn these necessary skills through targeted exercises, role play, pair and group communication activities, practice with 'real life' scenarios that will be appropriate to each persons need.

They will rebuild their confidence and learn how to adapt to their deafness so that taking part in social occasions and getting involved in their community become manageable situations again.  Families will gain as the hearing loss member learns to laugh and enjoy life being really part of the family again.  In work situations, meetings with colleagues will have more meaning and learning to them; and the hearing loss person will be able to contribute more fully to discussions/debates etc.; this will lead to further career advancement.  Doctors in the project areas will benefit because the patient with hearing loss will need less medical support as they start to manage their lives better - which will mean less cost to the NHS.

Results so far:

S from a previous course has gone on to have a cochlear implant and although this has helped her greatly she has now returned to learn how to pronounce words more clearly, as the old ways are not working so well for her now as a hearing person.

There is a definite need for an evening class.  Increasingly the age group for hearing loss is 20-40 years and this group are working and cannot make the day-time classes.

A trial group run in Ringwood, Hampshire was seriously over-subscribed.

Members have decided to become committee members – Louise Tonks has been appointed project co-ordinator for an initiative called  ‘Let’s Loop Salisbury’ Hearing Awareness Week 2-8th November www.hearinglink.org/hearing-loop-awareness-week

Ian Hobday has become Treasurer and Moira Johns has become Secretary. Others have also joined the committee.

Quotes from Summer School feedback forms:

“I now have the confidence to ask in theatres and cinemas for head phones or hearing loop devices.  I also know that persistence gets hearing aids set to the optimum setting for me”

“They have made me realise I am not the only one suffering. Lots of people have the same debilitating symptoms.  I am reasonably confident in class and hope that in time I will pick up conversations in every- day life”

“I am trying to help my father with his hearing loss.  It has helped a lot talking to different people in the class.  I am also improving my receptive skills with the lip reading classes, so that I can communicate better with deaf people who sign”

Grant awarded: 
£4,800