Article contributed by Hearing Link
The long-term experience of hearing loss – which is sometimes known as the hearing journey – has five stages: pre-awareness; awareness; taking action; rehabilitation; and living with hearing loss. Everyone faces each stage of their journey in their own way.
Hearing Loss Support
If you are struggling to manage the challenges that hearing loss can bring, Hearing Link Services is here to help. We offer advice for anyone with hearing loss worldwide via our website and shop, and a range of UK-based personalised services.
Help often starts with a visit to our website hearinglink.org, as a resource for finding out more. The website aims to connect you to the information you need, to understand your own situation better. Whether it’s an explanation of how the human ear works, or information on the ins and outs of hearing aids, hearing tests or specific conditions such as tinnitus, our website has the tips, advice, and solutions to help you identify and manage the changes to your hearing.
You may want to seek further advice after visiting our website, and if you live in the UK, we have several services that can help you, or a family member, because we know hearing loss can impact on your close relationships too.
Our Helpdesk connects you with a volunteer responder, who has lived or professional experience of hearing loss. You will be talking with someone who truly understands.
Our Helpdesk is monitored Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. We will pass your question to the most appropriate volunteer Helpdesk Responder for a personalised reply by email. This can sometimes take several days, but we will endeavour to have answers for you sooner.
Alternatively, our Helpdesk responders are available via LiveChat for an instant reply for an hour per day. The Helpdesk is easy to contact via our website hearinglink.org/helpdesk.
The Helpdesk is available for you, whether you have hearing loss yourself or you are supporting someone else.
Our LinkUps are a group support programme which brings you together with other people with hearing loss. They are available as in-person events (LinkUp groups) or online (LinkUp Online) and run over two consecutive days with a small group of participants, ideally with their partners or a friend.
A facilitator leads the group, helping its participants to share experiences and to help overcome issues that the participants have highlighted as important to them. Our volunteers use their lived experience to provide practical and emotional support, as well as focused advice and guidance on subjects which the participants suggest in advance.
Our LinkUp Online groups use a secure online platform, assisted by IT support and speech-to-text reporting (STTR) to ensure you can access the group fully.
One of the potential challenges of hearing loss is that you may feel more isolated than before, or unsure about how to deal with the changes to your hearing.
For more information, visit hearinglink.org/linkups. Other in-person services include our monthly drop-in hearing support sessions (currently running in Edinburgh and London) and online one-to-one sessions where you can discuss specific hearing loss topics.
Our Online Shop
Our online shop offers visible and discreet solutions for alerting others to your hearing and communication needs. Items include pin badges, communication cards, assistive listening devices, and hearing aid batteries. We offer solutions that will enhance a person’s listening experience and increase independence and confidence. Find out more at shop.hearinglink.org
Start Your Journey With Us
The success of Hearing Link Services, which is part of the UK charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, owes a great deal to our strong volunteer community. Our volunteers’ generosity in sharing that lived experience has been crucial to our services helping thousands of people to understand their own hearing loss better, and to live each hearing journey stage with confidence.
If we can support you or a loved one who is struggling with their hearing loss, please get in touch.
Start your journey at hearinglink.org
Thank you to Nicholas Orpin, Services Delivery Manager at Hearing Link, for this contribution. Thank you also to Lorna Armstrong and Neil Matthews for helping to organise this article.