We know how daunting it can be when you experience changes in your hearing. That’s why we created our LinkUps, a free support group that has been designed by people with lived experience of hearing loss, for others with hearing loss and their families and friends.
Our LinkUps are delivered in the following ways:
- Online: For smaller groups of up to eight people via a secure, easy-to-use online platform and known as LinkUp Online. Live captioning and speech-to-text reporting are provided.
- In-person: These are for groups of up to 15 people in a residential setting and usually take place over a weekend. Communication support is provided.
The aim of our groups is simple. LinkUps are a chance to explore the challenges of living with hearing loss, share solutions and find out about technology or equipment that can make life a little bit easier.
Who will benefit from attending a LinkUp?
These will be of interest to anyone whose life has been affected by hearing loss. This includes anyone whose hearing has deteriorated to the point where it is causing them difficulties. It also includes relatives, partners, or friends of someone with hearing loss, as we know that hearing loss in the family affects all family members and everyone needs support to find a new way forward. For this reason, we encourage participants to sign-up as a pair. The programme offers everyone the opportunity to explore their own challenges, and to understand better each other’s perspective. It is of benefit for those with recent hearing loss; but also, for those who have lived with hearing loss for many years or decades.
LinkUp Online brings together a small group of up to 8 people via a secure online platform. There is a set format to our sessions, but this is driven by the areas of support you identify to us. The group facilitators, volunteers and participants involved in the session will work together beforehand, and in the early part of the course, to agree what topics or issues should be addressed in line with your needs.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the sessions is free and currently covered by voluntary donations and funding from grant providers.
How is the LinkUp managed?
Once you have registered your interest in attending a LinkUp Online, our friendly team will be in touch to assess your needs. We will offer you insight to how our sessions will work using your laptop or computer. This will help us assess whether your equipment and broadband will enable you to get the most from the sessions, and reassure you about any stress or anxiety you may have about your computer skills stopping you from joining our group.
On the day, the LinkUp Online is led by up to two experienced Hearing Link facilitators who have personal experience or understanding of hearing loss. One will have hearing loss themselves and so will have practical experience of managing the daily challenges that brings; the other will have a personal understanding of the frustrations hearing loss brings to the family or to other close relationships. (For smaller break-out groups, the session may be lead by one facilitator.)
In addition to this, our sessions will be supported by up to two Event Support Volunteers who all have personal experience of hearing loss in one way or another. Their role is to make sure the sessions run smoothly, from a personal and technical point of view, and to also share their own personal experiences of hearing loss and the solutions they have found for the problems they have encountered.
How long does a LinkUp Online last?
LinkUp Online groups run over two consecutive days. We host a morning and afternoon session with ‘eye-breaks’ and longer breaks built in. There is also a longer break for lunch.
How does communication work?
During the sessions, we provide speech to text reporting (whereby everything that is said is typed in real-time and displayed on a screen) so that everyone can follow what is being said. During small group work, at a minimum, we will utilise closed captions subtitling provided by our online platform.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, so everyone understands and looks out for each other. You may feel deeply anxious that this will be too tiring, or that you will be left out of the conversation. We can assure that this is one place where good communication is practised, and everyone is included.
When are the LinkUp Online sessions held?
We aim to deliver a LinkUp Online session at least once a month, or more, depending on the demand for this service. If you would like to express an interest in attending a LinkUp Online, please complete our form below.
Please note, to ensure the quality of the service offered, if your first choice date is under 2 weeks from starting, you may be directed to your second choice:
We are currently unable to offer our LinkUp groups in person, but we hope to bring these back soon as soon as it is safe to do so. Please check this page for future updates.