Mini Blog Series – 3. Creating a meaningful friendship

I was part of the Peer Support team at a LinkUp support group a couple of years ago and Sue was a participant. We had interacted back and forth. But after the guest audiologist session had taken place, Sue shared that she had received an invitation to attend the Scottish Cochlear Unit. This service is based at the same audiology department I attend in my local community.

I suggested that she contact me when her appointment came through and we’d arrange to chat over lunch (it would be an all-day appointment for her).

Showing support for each other

Sue was not yet at the stage for a cochlear implant (CI). But she had been given advice on the best suited behind the ear (BTE) hearing aids – very similar to what I use. As she adapted to the new hearing aids, we found our chat on Facebook Messenger gradually moved from the peer support relationship to a genuine friendship where we chatted away about anything and everything.

I took up The 28 Challenge [an annual Hearing Dogs for Deaf People fundraiser] in February 2023 and Sue supported me through the difficult patches. So when she, in turn, took up The 28 Challenge this year, I proudly followed her progress.

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Keeping in touch

Sue is waiting to be matched with a life-changing hearing dog soon. She has now become a fundraising volunteer. This means we meet in-person at a range of Hearing Link Services events and Hearing Dogs fundraising events. We also manage a few fun days out in between too.

We keep in touch by text on messenger; I enjoy ‘hearing’ all she has been up to and value having a ‘listening ear’ for my tales. It also gives me a chance to have my say – she never stops talking when we meet!

Sue added: “I was very dubious about attending a LinkUp support group but was put at ease straight away. I became quite upset having shared some negative experiences with my deafness. May very kindly sat with me until I felt that I was able to re-join the group.

“This was the start of a very dear friendship, and we are in constant contact through Facebook Messenger. We update each other on what we’ve been doing and send photos. May has always been there for me, as I am for her. I am so glad that I went to the LinkUp weekend, as I found someone that I am very proud to call my friend and confidant.”

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