Photo of Joanne, the embodiment of empathy and expertise, at Signal: The Hub

Finding empathy and expertise with Signal

Barbara explains what Signal’s specialist support in the rural county of Shropshire has meant to both her and husband Roy. This support has been made possible by the Big Lottery Fund.

Photo of Roy and Barbara, beneficiaries of Signal's empathy and expertise

Roy and Barbara

“My husband was born partially deaf and has always had to rely on lip reading and hearing aids. Since we have been together, he also relies on myself to communicate and help him in day-to-day activities in the hearing world, even to ensure that he has understood what others have said.

As technology advances, hearing aids have helped Roy to be part of the hearing world. So when he suffered sudden complete hearing loss in his better ear and the surgery he had didn’t work, he was left isolated and withdrawn from the world and needed someone who would understand the devastation it caused him.

What’s more, I suffered a Bell’s palsy attack which has affected one side of my face. This meant that Roy could no longer lip read me and understand me, leaving him even more apart from the hearing world. Over time I have improved, but at the time of his sudden hearing loss this impacted greatly on us both.

Even though I could speak clearly, my lip pattern had changed to Roy and he could not always understand me. Taking several attempts to communicate to each other left us upset and frustrated with the situation we were in.

Photo of Joanne, the embodiment of empathy and expertise, at Signal: The Hub

Jo outside Signal: The Hub
(also see headline photograph)

Then the local NHS Audiology department referred us to Joanne Rose at Signal. What can I say? She turned our life around and has given us help and support in ways a simple leaflet or website will never be able to do.

Jo was able to understand Roy’s anger, sadness and frustrations as well as mine. She too was born hearing impaired and could relate to Roy, and he instantly trusted and connected with her. Jo also has a cochlear implant and so can speak from experience about the pros and cons of this surgery. She is genuine.

This has persuaded Roy to keep going through the difficulties of adjusting to new hearing aids each time. Jo has given us hope that life can improve again, by not giving up and convincing Roy to keep going to the checks. Knowing someone cares and wants to help is so valuable, it makes a difference.”

Headline photograph: Jo inside Signal: The Hub in Shropshire.

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