It is estimated that more than 10 million – around one in six people in the UK – have some degree of hearing impairment or deafness.
But Ripley-based charity Hearing Help UK is on hand to help provide support and guidance and boost the quality of life of those in need.
The charity HQ on Derby Road, which is supported by Southern Derbyshire CCG and Derbyshire County Council, hosts a small team of staff and volunteers that provide a range of services to support the hearing impaired community.
Volunteer Kate Quinn, who has worked at the centre for seven years, has witnessed first-hand how the impairment can effect lives.
The 28-year-old said: “Hearing loss can occur suddenly, but usually develops gradually. General signs of hearing loss can include difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, asking people to repeat themselves, or listening to music or watching television with the volume turned up high.
“Everyone is different but for many they can feel isolated and out of touch with their family, friends or community. We work hard to try and alleviate this and make every day life easier and enjoyable.
“We help service users to understand and use hearing equipment such as hearing aids, door bells, hearing loops and more, via demonstrations, provide advice and support, and conduct assessments for social services.
“A hearing adviser is also available at our various outreach clinics to retube hearing aids and supply batteries. This service is available without an appointment.
“However, due to the system currently operating within the NHS, we can only provide this service to those who received their hearing aids from Community Hearingcare Services, or who have changed their pathway through their doctor. If you have difficulty obtaining services from your current provider, we’ll do our best to help.”
Not only does the charity provide help and support, but it also hosts a social group held every third Wednesday of the month, which is open to all, not just the hearing impaired.
Staff and volunteers are keen to unite the community and are also hosting a Hearing Help UK Christmas social on Wednesday, December 14, to which all are invited.
From 11.45am to 2.30pm, there will be card games, lunch, competitions and entertainment from John Stamp. Katie of Ironville, said she hopes the event will draw in a new sea of faces.
She said: “It would be great for us to welcome new people to the charity. We want to raise the profile of Hearing Help UK and shed light on hearing impairment, as so often if it is not a disability that can be seen, it is often overlooked.”
Katie, who volunteers two days a week, said her work at the centre is extremely rewarding.
“I started out doing administration at Hearing Help and now have progressed to sales, marketing, organising funrdraisers and awareness. I have participated in a number of courses including lip reading and have learned a lot. I enjoy meeting new people, helping others and giving something back to the community. Helping change lives is priceless.”
For more visit: www.hearinghelpuk.uk or call 01773 570976.