Pukaar Magazine

ACTION DEAFNESS ENGAGES WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES

GURPREET SANTINI SPEAKS ABOUT THE CHARITY’S WORK WITH DEAF PEOPLE IN LEICESTERSHIRE

Action Deafness Cultural (ADC) was delighted to launch their second three year lottery funded project ‘HearNow Forward’ in July 2013, following on from the success of the first ‘HearNow’ scheme, supporting people with a hearing loss specifically from Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) backgrounds living in Leicester and Leicestershire.

As a Deaf-led organisation, we understand and appreciate the tough challenges faced by people with a hearing loss, exacerbated for people from BME communities as they struggle to find their identity in areas that may not fully understand or accept disability. There is a stigma attached to deafness and quite often language barriers make it very difficult to communicate, even with an interpreter.

The new project consists of two Development officers; one of whom is a qualified Audiologist, plus a Volunteer Co-ordinator. The team engages with local community centres and health centres offering events such as health & well- being fairs. As part of the service delivery, the team offers free hearing checks and advice is given about general ear care to members of the public.

Since January 2014 the project  has  been working very closely with the De Montfort University (DMU) Square Mile and Audiology department, offering students volunteering opportunities to enhance their studies. This has given them a ‘real’ insight into how full hearing tests are performed, putting their education into practice and helping to build their consultation skills. They found the experience extremely rewarding because they got to speak directly to patients and learnt about the difficulties associated with living with hearing loss and adapting to wearing hearing aids.

Jaz Mann, AD Cultural Manager, said: “I would urge anyone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or knows anyone impacted by a hearing loss to contact us. It might be the single most important step they take in improving their quality of life, or improving the life of someone they know.”

The project also runs a Hearing-Aid Repair Drop-in Clinic in partnership with Leicester Royal Infirmary at Age UK in Evington.

We facilitate a regular fortnightly Coffee Morning for our deaf service users so they can meet socially, while speakers give information about local services, arts, sports, fitness, etc. We also provide British Sign Language courses, Deaf Awareness Training and Support Services.

This work has confirmed that for many people from BME backgrounds, they do not have the confidence to talk about their hearing loss or ask for help. Patients have expressed feelings of isolation and are unsure about where to seek advice, so they have really appreciated the service provided to them in their communities and their languages.

For more information please contact:

hearnow@actiondeafness.org.uk

0116 253 3205

www. actiondeafness.org.uk

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