Hearing Link

Blog: Walks for hearing loss – Northern Ireland

By Nuala Muldoon
Hearing Link Project Manager – Northern Ireland

The Divis and Black Mountain walk last month was the second walk we have organised for people affected by hearing loss in Northern Ireland.

Both events have gone really well – see our pictures below. Those who have attended each of these have had lots of fun, lots of laughter, and great chats between people who understand the challenges of living with hearing loss.

We will continue to organise similar walks every month. Group members can take turns to pick the route and lead the walk if they like, or simply just come along and follow the crowd, and if we get the chance, share a picnic!

We really hope word will spread and many more people will get involved, no matter what level of hearing loss they might have. They do not need to have a hearing loss directly, but they may still be affected by it, for example, a close family member or friend might be deafened.

The main thing is that we have a group of people who understand the hurdles hearing loss can bring. It is also a chance to share strategies, such as working how to break down communication barriers e.g. speaking clearly and getting someone’s attention before talking when you are outdoors – though we know this can often be a learning curve too!

Despite being lucky with sunny, dry weather for the past two events – the wind did cause problems for a few of those with hearing aids.  Some suggested a simple hat over the ears is a good enough solution, another suggestion was ‘Ear Gear’ which is a thin, elasticated sock to pull over hearing aids

A few of the group are going to try these out at our next walk – we will keep you posted on how we go!

We are surrounded by beautiful spots for walks in Northern Ireland and everyone is looking forward to the next walk (27th July) which will be in Glenariff Forest Park (downhill route).  We will aim to pick routes with various difficulty ratings to ensure there is something manageable for everyone. It’s a great way to socialise, get exercise and be with people who understand hearing loss.

We have had some great feedback from one of our group, which I would like to share: “It was a really was a very good walk today, so thanks so much for that. I would not underestimate for one moment the value of the chat we all had at our picnic. There was incredibly supportive body language among the group, and I really appreciated that.  Nice little touches that no one other than PWHL would pick up on.  So, all in all, a very supportive event.”

If you would like to join us at our next walking, taking place on Saturday 27th July, please email northernireland@hearinglink.org to find out more.

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