Hearing Link and coronavirus
Our services are more needed than ever, and we’re trying our best to adapt so we can continue helping people with hearing loss and their families and friends.
Firstly, from all of us at Hearing Link, we sincerely hope you, and those close to you, are all safe and well. We understand how difficult things are right now for a great number of people; physically, mentally, socially and financially. We are finding it difficult too.
Many people are feeling isolated. We understand this very well. Many deaf people whom we help have spent years feeling this way because of their deafness. Not being able to leave their homes, feeling cut off from loved ones or simply having no face-to-face interaction at all, can make even the most resilient people feel isolated, lonely, trapped and anxious.
There are also new challenges. While face masks and other face coverings are a sensible precaution for reducing the spread of Coronavirus, they have the unintended consequence of creating a huge barrier for deaf people who rely on lipreading.
With face coverings now mandatory in places such as shops and supermarkets, as well as them being worn in places like hospitals and banks, people who rely on lipreading are finding things really difficult. Not being able to see people’s mouths and faces make lipreading impossible and can even pose a safety risk.
These are daily realities for many deaf people, so it makes us even more committed to helping you.
The recent Coronavirus outbreak has made the ways we help people with hearing loss and their families more difficult.
Our Hearing Link and Hearing Dogs family does so much of its work in communities around the UK.
Some of the support we provide – LinkUp groups, face-to-face bespoke advice and support, and puppy training classes have had to stop. And our fun community events, such as The Great British Dog Walks, have been halted.
Helping deaf people and protecting our wonderful staff, volunteers, supporters, beneficiaries of our hearing loss services and recipients of hearing dogs, is our utmost priority, and our Hearing Link and Hearing Dogs family has really come together to navigate this unique period. We have calmly adapted, and we are confident we will overcome this turbulence with resilience and kindness.
We wanted to let you know, as a supporter of Hearing Link, that we are still here to support you and your family.
Our Helpdesk is open to answer your questions about hearing loss. Our volunteers are available to offer practical and emotional support for the changes and challenges you are facing as a result of your hearing. However, we do appreciate your patience and understanding at this time, because it may take a little longer than usual to reply.
Our online shop has reopened and our selection of communication products, alerting devices and assistive listening products are available to purchase again. Many of these will provide support to those people who rely on lipreading in public places.
We have also developed our LinkUps Groups so they can be delivered online, via our new services LinkUp Online. We have various dates available for 2021. If you believe you or a family could benefit from this tailored support, visit our webpage for more information about how to book a place.
Elsewhere in our organisation, all of our hearing dogs-in-training are now being trained in the homes (and gardens!) of their amazing volunteer puppy trainers. We are continuing to support our existing hearing dog partnerships, albeit remotely, and the adaptability shown by everyone who has a hearing dog has been remarkable.
The Coronavirus crisis may have slowed us down, but with our innovative staff, our adaptable and generous volunteers, and our wonderful dogs, it won’t stop us helping as many deaf people as we can.
We have a fantastic group of supporters, volunteers and staff who have been incredibly flexible and above all, kind and understanding, which makes things much easier all-round.
We care a great deal about our supporters, and we hope that sharing how Hearing Link and Hearing Dogs is coping during this time of crisis is reassuring. We’ll get through this together.
From all the team at Hearing Link and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – stay safe and well.