RNID launches first of 'Hear to Help' projects supported by The Co-operative Group

August 05, 2010

A pioneering project, providing vital encouragement and support to help people adjust to wearing hearing aids has been launched in Leeds by RNID - the first of 21 such projects being launched across the UK over the next 12 months.

Funded by The Co-operative Group – whose staff, members and customers raised £3.7 million in 2009 to help RNID develop its ‘Hear to Help’ service – the new project aims to reduce the loneliness and isolation often experienced by people who wear hearing aids.

Picture of Peter Marks – Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, centre right RNID’s Chief Executive, Jackie Ballard. Far right Cat Bradshaw - project manager for RNID’s ‘Hear to Help’ project in Leeds, joined by Co-operative colleagues at the Leeds launch.The Hear to Help projects will train volunteers, many of whom have a hearing loss themselves, to show others how to get the best performance from their hearing aids, so that they can hear more clearly and improve communication with friends, family and colleagues.

Hear to Help volunteers will help people to carry out basic maintenance on their hearing aid, such as replacing tubing and batteries, as well as providing advice on equipment that can make life easier in the workplace and at home.

RNID’s Chief Executive, Jackie Ballard, says: “RNID’s new Hear to Help projects will provide life-changing support for hearing aid users and help reduce demands on local audiology departments for post-fitting rehabilitation services. Getting used to a hearing aid can be difficult and takes time, and this service will prove invaluable.

“Our committed team of volunteers up and down the country will run community drop-in sessions and make home visits to build the confidence of hearing aid users. It’s amazing to see the tremendous impact a hearing aid can have in transforming a person’s ability to hear and live a full and active life.”

Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, Peter Marks, says: “We are delighted to be funding the Hear to Help project to reach people who have become isolated due to hearing loss. The incredible fundraising achievement of The Co-operative in raising £3.7 million for RNID last year means this is the first of over 20 new Hear to Help projects across the UK. Overall, these projects will benefit 20,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Hear to Help is being run in Leeds by RNID in partnership with Leeds Council’s Adult Social Care and Leeds NHS Trust. Chief Executive of NHS Leeds, John Lawlor, says: “Hear to Help is a fantastic project and I am delighted that the people of Leeds will benefit from the support it provides and that Leeds has been chosen to launch the national scheme.  Patients who are hard of hearing will have the opportunity to learn key skills enabling them to get the best performance from their hearing aids and hear more clearly.”

For more information about RNID’s new Hear to Help projects, contact RNID's Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone), email: informationline@rnid.org.uk or visitwww.rnid.org.uk/HearToHelp

 

Notes for editors:

  • Hear to Help is being run in Leeds by RNID in partnership with Leeds Council’s Adult Social Care and Leeds NHS Trust. For more information about the RNID’s Hear to Help project in Leeds, contact Cat Bradshaw on e-mail: cat.bradshaw@rnid.org.uk or visit www.rnid.org.uk/HearToHelp
  • Leeds City Council’s Executive Board member for Adult Health and Social Care, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, says: “Hear to Help is a great example of partnership-working to reduce the social isolation of elderly residents in Leeds who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing loss affects 55% of people over 60 and it is important that hearing aid users have access to what can be basic, but life-changing practical support and friendship in their communities.”
  • RNID is the charity working on hearing loss and hearing health. We do this with the help of our members by campaigning and lobbying, raising awareness of deafness and hearing loss, providing services and through social, medical and technical research.
  • For further information about RNID or to become a member, visit www.rnid.org.uk, contact RNID's Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone) or 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email: informationline@rnid.org.uk