25 April 2013 – Helping people who are hard of hearing

Posted on April 25, 2013 by AireAdmin

Airedale’s audiology team is inviting patients, carers or health and social care professionals with any questions about hard of hearing issues to drop-in during national Deaf Awareness Week 6 – 12 May.

They are hosting an information stand in the hospital’s outpatients as part of the campaign by the UK Council of Deafness which will cover how to adopt good communication skills, information about hearing aids, dealing with earwax and other ear conditions.

There will also be information about a huge range of assisted hearing devices to help you at home and at work such as vibrating alarm clocks, mobile phone devices and special fire alarms, door bells and baby crying alerts. Lip reading classes throughout the area will also be promoted.

The department is based just next to outpatients and members of the team are willing to see visitors in-between appointments during that week between 10am – 3pm.

The vast majority of around a thousand patients, including children who the team see each month are hard of hearing and numbers are growing especially as people are living longer.

One of the aims during the week is to help people communicate with those who are hard of hearing and urge people who have a hearing problem to seek help sooner.

Losing your hearing can result in social isolation, embarrassment and depression – especially for people who live on their own as they often become reluctant to meet up with people and fed up of asking for things to be repeated.

Katie Davenport, senior audiologist of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said;

“Shouting doesn’t always help as the majority of the time is it clarity that people who are hard of hearing need and they find higher pitched sounds particularly difficult to hear.

“One of the problems we have is that it takes people such a long time to do something about their loss of hearing and then it can take much longer to get used to wearing hearing aids.

“As it’s such a gradual problem people tend to put up with it and get accustomed to a quiet world and so when they do wear a hearing aid everything seems incredibly loud.

“There is also such a stigma around wearing hearing aids as they are associated with getting older. Hearing aids are now digital and generally smaller, there is also a choice of colours.”

For information on how to get referred to the audiology department please call in or contact us on 01535 293646 or email audiology.dep@anhst.nhs.uk. For more information about help for people who are hard of hearing www.deafcouncil.org.uk

Some tips for communication with people who are hard of hearing are;

  • Make sure you have their attention and they are looking at you
  • Do not shout
  • Keep the normal rhythm of speech but slow down slightly
  • Make sure your face or mouth is not hidden behind hands or cigarette
  • Make sure that any background noise is at a minimum
  • Make sure that there is sufficient light on your face
  • Look directly at the person and don’t turn away whilst talking
  • If a sentence is not heard try to rephrase it
  • Always be patient and friendly and take time to communicate