Support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People in Wales

Today is St David's Day and we are highlighting some the wonderful work going on in Wales. Both on a working and campaign basis but also on what is happening with the help of volunteers.

There are over 500,000 people in Wales who are deaf or have a hearing loss.  The social and well being act that came into force in 2016 governs how public services are delivered. It emphasises that people who are deaf or hard of hearing should be asked what matters to them and be given a strong voice when deciding what they need to achieve for their wellbeing. It also means having support arranged to achieve what they cannot do.

A hearing aid can be life changing for a deaf or hard of hearing person however a hearing aid alone is not just the answer. Assitive listening devices are avaliable to buy via Action on Hearing Loss, Hearing Link  as well as through sensory support teams within each county council. However extra support and accessible services are crucial to ensuring deaf and hard of hearing people achieve wellbeing. We take a look at some of the services and project supporting Deaf and hard of hearing people in Wales.

Hear to Help Hearing Aid Service in Wales

Hear to Help is a service provided by Action on Hearing Loss. A UK charity dedicated to helping people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus or hearing loss. This service is mostly run by volunteers providing NHS hearing aid users with support sessions all across Wales. Hearing aids take time to adjust to and how to take care of them. The Hear to Help service provides hearing aid users new and existing on after care of hearing aid maintenence. They are able to provide minor hearing aid repairs, change hearing aid tubing, clean the ear mould and replace hearing aid batteries. They are also able to recommend you to other useful services in the local area.

Hear to Help services are a free drop in service. Get in touch with the Action on Hearing Loss Wales team to find out the closest Hear to Help service in your area. https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/about-us/our-work-across-the-uk/w...

Hearing Research in Wales

There have been a number of hearing reseach project taking part in recent years. One in particular being conducted at Cardiff University's Centre for Research in regards using steroids to help treat glue ear in children. The Study was Published recently back in November 2018 by Proffesor Nick Francis and Proffesor Chris Butler. Glue ear is a common ear condition especially among young children. The idea being as oral steroids work well for children with asthma, it could provide an new treatment for glue ear. You can find out more about the research study here: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/centre-for-trials-research/research/themes/chi... .

Swansea University is the only training centre in Wales for audiologists. Via a degree route, Heathcare Science Degree with specialism in Audiology. Swansea University Human and Health Science conduct research across a broad range of health topics. A particular research study recently undertaken was take of digital television and deaf and hard of hearing audiences in Wales. It looks at how visual media can alleviate frustrations and social exclusions in physical, mental and social domains for deaf or hard of hearing people. Wales being the first digital television nation since the digital switch over took place in 2012. The study aims to look at patterns of digital television users who are deaf or hard of hearing, evaluate the enabling or disabling effect digital television has and highlight particular review from deaf and hard of hearing digital television users in Wales. You can find out more about the research study here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research/research-projects...

Support Groups in Wales

Provided by Wales Council for Deaf People there are 20 hard of hearing support groups across Wales. Each group usually meets on a monlthy basis and helps those who have developed a hearing loss over time. The group enables people to learn from eachothers experiences with hearing loss as well as learning about new services, facilities and devices. Sometimes groups may have key speakers. Wales Council for Deaf People also throughly encourage and help any area in Wales looking to start up their own hard of hearing support group with advice, support and a start up grant. To find your nearest group or to learn more visit: http://www.wcdeaf.org.uk/about-us/

Social support groups are also run by area specific charities and seperate volunteer led groups. Such as: 

The Swansea Deaf Centre

The Centre for Sign Sight and Sound in Conwy

The Sign and Share Club in Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Llaneli Deaf Club

Cardiff Deaf Centre

Newport Deaf Club

Lip Reading in Wales

Lipreading is a hugely valuable communication skill for people with all levels of hearing loss. The Associate of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA) advocates that everyone with hearing loss should have access to a local lipreading class. Not only do these relaxed classes teach you how to lipread, they also improve your communication skills, introduce you to useful equipment and give you the chance to share experiences with others in similar situations. To learn more about lip reading classes available in Wales: https://atlalipreading.org.uk/find-lipreading-classes/class-listings-wales/

Better Employment Options in Wales

Back in November 2018, finance secretary Mark Drakeford announced £2.9 million will be set asside to help fund specialist employment and training services for people with sensory loss. The JobSense Project will work with 390 long term un-employed people with hearing or sight problems. Receiving their own case worker, communication support and how to obtain grants from the UK government's Access to Work Fund. The JobSense Project will be delivered and supported by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, the Elite Supported Employment Agency and the Centre of Sign Sight Sound. To learn more visit: https://gov.wales/newsroom/finance1/2018/181127-funding-to-improve-emplo...

Support for Deaf Children in Wales

The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) provides a number of services across Wales. The NDCS provide support to deaf children and their families. This often takes the form of support groups, raising awareness and campaiging for deaf children's rights.

One campaign they have spent the last few years campaigning for better support for children in ther development and through educational services. Many deaf children at present receive a Statement or an Individual Education Plan. This outlines the support they need in school. However from september 2020 a new law will begin to be implemented. This means that all children and young people with additional learning needs have a different plan. This is called and Individual Developmdng Plan (IDP). A plan that will be available to those aged from 0-16 and 16 to 25 years old in further education. To learn more about the campaigning NDCS are doing check out: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/campaigns-wales

NDCS also provide day outs and weekend trips away for deaf children, their families and parents. One upcoming activity weekend happening in Wales this year is the Summer Adventure and Explore Wales taking place at the Tyr Abad Outdoor Education Centre in Powys between the 29 July and the 2nd of August 2019The event is for deaf young people aged between 8 and 15. It is an exiting event in which young people will get to make some new friends, build confidence and try some exciting activities. Activities may include caving, climbing, team building and gorge walking. Our friendly team of staff will look after them and help support them to have a great experience. For more details: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/our-services/our-events/events-for-children-and-... or email nicola.partridge@ndcs.org.uk .

Quick Tips

If your loop system on your hearing aid doesn't seem to be working, check the building you are in has it switched on.