To mark Deaf Awareness Week (May 4 – 10), staff from Specsavers Hearing Centre have appealed to the local community to support the town’s deaf or hard of hearing population.

Raising local awareness

Supporting the UK Council on Deafness’ annual campaign, the team is committed to raising local awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by the deaf or hard of hearing.

Worrying statistics

According to the UK Council on Deafness, one in six people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing. Nearly 3.7million people of working age have hearing loss, 135,000 of which are severely or profoundly deaf. Furthermore, over 45,000 children in the UK are deaf.

Colin Bainbridge, hearcare director at Specsavers Leigh, said: ‘It’s vital that everybody understands the challenges faced by those with hearing difficulties, challenges which often leave people feeling frustrated, embarrassed, isolated and unconfident.

Importance of regular hearing checks

‘The majority of those who are partially deaf or hard of hearing can be assisted with the help of a hearing aid, but it’s thought that up to a million people who would benefit from wearing one remain undiagnosed having failed to get their hearing regularly checked.

‘Remember it’s important to have hearing checks as regularly as you would have a sight test, which is recommended every two years. This becomes even more important past the age of 55 when age related hearing loss is most likely to occur.’

Expert advice

The theme of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week was ‘Connect and Communicate’. The UK Council on Deafness offers the following advice to help people communicate appropriately with those who suffer from hearing loss.

When speaking with a deaf person it is important to:

• Face the person when you are speaking to them, don’t turn away

• Speak clearly without shouting

• Repeat yourself if necessary

• Never say ‘it doesn’t matter’

• If that person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up

• Write it down or draw a picture

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