Five questions with… Rosie Wolf, Helpdesk Responder
Rosie Wolf became profoundly deaf in her left ear very suddenly in her early 50s. This had quite an impact on her life because she was teaching music to children at the time.
After an MRI scan, it was discovered that she had a brain tumour (about the size of a grapefruit). She was in hospital for five months and had to learn to walk and speak again.
Unfortunately, the damage to her hearing was permanent and since then she has lost some hearing in her right ear due to age.
Rosie has volunteered as a Helpdesk Responser with Hearing Link since 2017, helping others managing similar experiences.
Here, Rosie shares a bit more about her role…
How did you find out about Hearing Link?
I first heard about Hearing Link from my lipreading teacher. My teacher had referred a class member to a LinkUp weekend and she found the experience of being in a support setting with her husband, and being able to discuss her problems, very helpful.
What inspired you to become a volunteer responder with our Helpdesk team?
I felt the support given to my fellow class member was such a compassionate way to help people with hearing loss. I was inspired to contact Hearing Link to ask what volunteer roles I could do. Because of my mobility problems I was only suited to the Helpdesk Responder role as, at that time (before everything went online), the other roles involved travel.
Can you tell us more about the Helpdesk Responder role and the support you provide?
My role as a Helpdesk Responder is to reply to enquiries received by Hearing Link. These can range from help with hearing aids, the technology that is available, such as TV listening devices, and help with work situations explaining the assistance you are entitled to by law as a disabled person. How to find lip reading classes and support groups involves quite a lot of research and there can be a letter which just requires emotional support for the enquirer or their loved one.
I volunteer to answer a query as quickly as possible, depending on the amount of research needed, so I don’t have particular hours. Sometimes there is one question a fortnight and sometimes two in one week. A query may involve several hours for a comprehensive reply or a response can be written quite easily.
What do you like most about the role as a Helpdesk Responder?
I really enjoy my role as a Helpdesk Responder. Every question that I am given to answer is different. Although the subject may be the same, e.g.TV listening, the answer needs to be pertinent to the situation of the enquirer. I have learned so much, just by doing the research needed, and often on subjects of the impact of hearing loss which are entirely unfamiliar.
I get satisfaction in the knowledge that I am passing on my own experiences of being deaf, which may open doors for someone else. Helping people know their rights under the law, and what help they are entitled to is very satisfactory. Occasionally, there is a letter of thanks which makes my day!
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering as a Helpdesk Responder?
If you are interested in research and helping people with hearing loss you will enjoy becoming a Helpdesk Responder. The work is not arduous, but thought-provoking and rewarding. Being a volunteer on the Helpdesk gives me some perspective on my own hearing problems because I feel I am helping others.
If you have a question about hearing loss and would like to get in touch with a member of our Helpdesk team, please complete our webform.
If you would like to become a Helpdesk Responder like Rosie; we are looking for new members to join our growing team.
To find out more about volunteering for Hearing Link, please visit our Volunteering section.