June saw the last day of the Self-Management Programme for deaf people delivered by Hearing Link in partnership with Signal. The session covered the difficulties that deaf people can experience in their own families and partners had a chance to have their say too. Participants talked about the frustration felt by the person with hearing loss and also the family members trying to talk with them. This often led to accusations of selective hearing or laziness and all too often resulted in communication breakdown. The course leaders, who themselves all have hearing loss led a discussion on coping techniques and strategies to help in the home.
For people with hearing loss something as simple as ordering coffee can present a challenge, it becomes upsetting if you can’t hear what the waiter or waitress is saying. People with hearing loss frequently respond by avoiding social situations – or at least relying on a hearing partner. The Self-Management Programme recognises this by including a confidence building session with practical tips for everyday situations. The group worked through the issues together sharing their own fears and experiences and offering their own solutions. At the end of the morning we reviewed the goals that each person had identified and looked to develop a few more. The course focuses strongly on how an individual can manage their own hearing loss – setting goals plays a big role in giving people something practical to aim for.
After lunch James from Signal talked about some of the support for deaf people in Shropshire – Signal’s outreach worker, the local hard of hearing groups, tinnitus groups, the effective hearing programme, lip reading classes, assessments by the Sensory Impairment Team, the Shropshire Deaf and Hard of Hearing Forum and the work of the Community Council’s volunteers. There was a great deal of interest in the new Sign Language taster course scheduled for July 17th. If you’d like to know more about any of these things then please contact us. To end the session there were words of praise for the local NHS audiology services but also a note of worry with the news that North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioners are considering cutting back on provision of hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. See the whole story on the Action on Hearing Loss website.
Finally we closed with a feedback session. The general consensus was that there were no magic answers but that talking to others and sharing was of great benefit. Our thanks to Hearing Link for delivering the course in Shropshire and of course to all the participants for their effort and input in making this a big success.