Your Hearing Matters

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Contents

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.

Support, information, advice and education

Peer support

Peer support

Despite all the information and professional advice available to people with hearing loss, many find that the best source of support and tips for handling life with hearing loss come from other people in the same situation.

There are numerous online communities and forums as well as local support groups, clubs, social groups and classes that many people find helpful. Your audiologist or GP may be able to recommend local groups that might suit you, but you can also find them yourself online.

“The most important information I learnt about how to effectively manage my hearing loss came from other people with hearing loss. Getting to know other people in the same boat also normalised the condition for me and so I stopped feeling ashamed of my hearing loss and trying to hide it”
- Amanda

Online communities

Online communities

There are many places on the internet, including Facebook groups, where you can join with others with hearing loss to discuss problems, ask and answer questions, and be supported by people who understand the real daily effects of hearing loss because they live with it too.

Here are some online communities you could take a look at:

The health community's website HealthUnlocked hosts forums for Hearing Link, deafPLUS, the British Tinnitus Association and some others related to hearing loss. You can also search for mentions of hearing loss in HealthUnlocked communities where hearing problems may not be the main issue.

Local groups

Most areas have local groups for people with hearing loss where you can meet others face-to-face. They often organise social events, invite guest speakers to meetings and offer practical help with any issues you have. Examples of some local organisations are Hearing Help Essex, Cambridgeshire Hearing Help, Hertfordshire Hearing Advisory Service and the Norfolk Deaf Association.

Some of the bigger hearing loss organisations also run local groups across the country, such as the social groups run by Action on Hearing Loss . You can also find support through local authority sensory services teams and through hospital audiology departments.

“I felt ashamed of my hearing loss for a long time. However, getting support from others with hearing loss and realising that 1 in 6 of us have hearing loss gave me the courage to just go ahead and do what I wanted to do regardless.”
- Amanda

Lipreading

Lipreading

Learning to lipread can help improve your ability to communicate whether or not you use hearing aids. The visual reinforcement you get from lipreading can give confidence that you have heard correctly and can be very helpful in places where background noise is an issue.

There are many courses available for learning lipreading. For information, see:

Various more local organisations run lipreading classes and other support workshops. Find out about classes run by Cambridgeshire Hearing Help, for example.

There are also online lipreading courses where you can learn or practice your lipreading skills. The site Lipreading Practice is an example you could try.

British Sign Language

British Sign Language

British Sign Language is a separate language from English and is used mainly by the UK Deaf community. But many people with hearing loss choose to learn it as a second language that adds to their range of communication tools.

“My husband and I learned some basic sign language to take a lot of stress out of day to day communication. For example, he is now able to sign ‘would you like a cup of tea?’ and ‘How are you?’.”
- Molly

Communication skills

There’s a whole range of strategies you can use to communicate better and lots of advice online about different ways of getting your message across and understanding others. A few examples are:

Other information sources

Many organisations provide high-quality information on hearing loss and most have lists of further useful resources. Some examples are:

Coping with stress

Living with hearing loss is known to be stressful and can lead to a low mood, anxiety and even depression. If you are concerned about your mental or emotional state, you should see your GP. But there’s a great deal you can do yourself to deal with feeling down.

Benefits

Depending on your circumstances, your level of hearing loss and how it affects you, there may be benefits that you can claim.

Anyone with diagnosed hearing loss can also get a disabled person’s railcard, which gives a one-third discount on rail tickets for you and a companion. Find out more information and prices on the Disabled Person Railcard website.

Using the web

Many people with hearing loss do a great deal of research online and use their computers for all types of communication, from email and messaging to video calls where they can see who they are talking to.

The internet is a great resource but is also awash with inaccurate or misleading material and with sales pitches dressed up as ‘information’. You need to be sure that what you are reading is reliable. In general, go for official sites (ending, for example, ‘gov.uk’ ‘nhs.uk’) or for those of big, well-established hearing loss organisations.

Look also for sites displaying an Information Standard or Health on the Net logo. They are certified for giving health information that is accurate, evidence-based and kept up to date. Information Standard or Health on the Net

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.