Community support volunteers
Our network of friendly Community Support Volunteers work in many parts of the UK. They provide personal and practical advice both to the individual who has hearing loss and also their family. They do this through visits, letters and emails.
They can tell you more about our services, provide useful information and advice, and put you in contact with others who are hearing impaired. Contact us to find a community support volunteer near you.
Community support volunteers understand from their own personal experience what it is like to live with hearing loss and will give you the chance to talk about the difficulties and problems of coping and adjusting.
They can also advise you about local and national services and activities, and help locate lipreading classes, social services and equipment services.
What people say …
Bill Jones says ‘I lost my hearing overnight and was told my hearing loss was going to be permanent and I just had to accept the inevitable. I got hearing aids from the NHS and was left to my own devices. I went back to work with my new hearing aids but was struggling to hear and cope with life.
After a couple of years trying to manage job, family and friends I sunk into depression. I went to see my doctor who prescribed me anti-depressants and signed me off work for another six months. He also referred me to Hearing Link.
Hearing Link contacted me and told me one of their support volunteers would be in touch soon. I thought ‘So what?’ – what can a volunteer do for me? Even though I didn’t hold out much hope, a meeting was set up, between myself and my wife Joyce, and the volunteer and his partner.
Before the meeting Joyce said that they would not be able to tell us anything about hearing loss that we didn’t already know. However, when we sat down with them (the support volunteer and his hearing partner), they straight away made us feel relaxed by the way they talked, making sure they faced me and had the light on their faces.
In the same boat
They told us about all the different tactics they used for communicating, and tips like to always carry a notepad and pen to jot things down. The volunteer explained that he was deafened and had once been in the same boat as me but had managed to get on with his life through the help he had got from Hearing Link.
His wife spoke to my wife about all the problems of being the hearing partner, and how she had overcome their difficulties. Joyce was surprised that someone knew how she felt, as until then everything was about my problems, and not how my hearing loss affected her. As you can imagine this was quite an emotional meeting and it lasted for about two and a half hours.
A husband and wife relationship
I learnt from the volunteers that I could still have a life even though I was deafened. It didn’t all have to be doom and gloom just because I had a hearing loss; they showed me that with the right help I could live as normal a life as possible.
They also showed us that with a few changes in the way we did things we could have a husband and wife relationship again instead of a carer and deaf person relationship. At the end of the meeting they said they would recommend we attended Hearing Link’s intensive rehabilitation programme. But that is another story…’