Who can get a hearing impairment?
Anyone. It is estimated that 1 in 7 of the total UK population have a significant hearing loss. With gradual hearing loss you may develop ways of compensating, but sometimes extra help is needed to cope within a hearing world and avoid feeling left out. Family gatherings with people chattering and laughing together; background noise in crowded places; noisy work places, staff meetings can all be tiring and stressful and add to the frustrations and disadvantages of those with poor hearing.
Why does it happen?
It can be one of many reasons, genetic inheritance, and exposure to repeated loud noise for example loud machinery, disease (such as measles, mumps, meningitis) as a side effect of medication or by your mother having rubella (German Measles) in pregnancy. It may occur through a variety of ear conditions or by accident/trauma. Often it is part of the ageing process.
Many people, both hearing and hearing impaired suffer from tinnitus which can be a sensation of ringing, whistling, hissing or buzzing which is ‘heard’. Many sufferers feel their tinnitus worsens at night or when they are anxious. Advice, therapy and support is available through the hospital audiology department
What support is available?
- a hearing loop system for people using hearing aids
Many public places have a loop system for use with hearing aids, but make sure the system and your T switch are turned on.
- British Sign Language (BSL)
People with a severe/profound hearing loss may wish to learn British Sign Language (BSL) and can do so by contacting Deaf Direct (opens in a new window) for information.
- equipment and support
You may have difficulty with hearing people on the phone or the phone ringing, hearing conversations, hearing the doorbell, television, smoke alarm, alarm clock or hearing your baby cry. Specialist workers from the Sensory Impairment Service will work with you to identify suitable advice, information, communication methods, voluntary services, equipment and support that will promote your independence and wellbeing. They may provide additional equipment on long term loan or advise you on equipment you can purchase. The workers can also provide registration to reflect your hearing loss, helpful in accessing some additional benefits.
- lip-reading classes
Many hard of hearing people find lip-reading classes useful. Contact your local Adult Education or Hospital Audiology Department for dates, times and venues of classes near you.
How do I get help?
If you are concerned about your hearing loss, first visit your doctor. If however, you start bleeding from your ear or have acute, severe ear-ache, ring NHS Direct (0845 4647 or text phone 0845 6064647) for advice or visit the Accident and Emergency unit at the hospital.
The Access Centre
Worcestershire County Council, Adult Services, Access Service PO Box 585, Worcester WR4 4AD
Tel: 01905 768053 Fax:01905768056
Text/sms 07939572850 (Deaf/ Hard of Hearing only)
The Sensory Impairment service direct
Action on Hearing Loss (opens in a new window) - Action on Hearing Loss is a UK charity that helps people to confront deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose.
Deaf Direct (opens in a new window) - Deaf Direct is a local deaf-led charity supporting people with hearing loss