New support group wants to help hard of hearing

A group that aims to bring people with hearing difficulties together is being set up in Balderton.

Mr Archie Bryson, 80, of Balderton, started having problems with his hearing from the age of 30, and it deteriorated over recent years.

He wants to help remove the stigma of being hard of hearing and give people with similar impairment the chance to talk about their issues.

It is hoped meetings eventually could be held at St Giles’ Community Hall, but Mr Bryson said he would be happy to host people to get the group started.

He said: “It can be very difficult. If you are in a group of people and there are three or four voices around it can make life a bit tricky.

“The important thing is we want to have a bit of banter. A laugh and a joke is always important.

“We will be able to talk about the issues we face with our hearing, and the things we can do to help us, but that won’t be all we would talk about.”

Mrs Mary Danskin, 81, who is helping to set up the group, said difficulty hearing had been an issue in her life since she was 12.

“Because it’s something you cannot see, a lot of people don’t understand and can think you are being ignorant,” she said.

“People don’t try to be unkind, but it is hard for them to keep taking your hearing into consideration when they are talking

“It can be very hard when you are trying to follow a conversation in a group and you feel a bit stupid when you can’t.

“There are times when you do feel isolated, which is why making this group would be a good idea.”

The pair initially tried to hold a first meeting last month by advertising at a local doctors’ surgery and putting up posters, but were unable to attract members.

Mr Bryson said: “I know a lot of people will be going through this. It is all about spreading the word and letting people know about the idea.

“If it gets off the ground then we could have visitors from Action On Hearing Loss.”

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Mr Bryson on 01636 918727.

  • Well, first of all it's a really bad idea to expect deaf people to make telephone calls. Many of them shun the telephone. You should be able to work out why. Incidentally "hard of hearing" is a euphemism for mild deafness. They are deaf people but in most cases they are different to lifelong deafies.

    The hardest part of forming groups like this is telling people you exist. It's a serious problem. I helped to start one years ago and it's still going, but only just.Don't expect instant success. Deafness is a communication problem and it takes a long time for word to get around. Don't give up too easily.

    Suggestions : Contact your local social services. Ask them for referrals to your group. Ensure they have good contact information, preferably not by phone.

    Posters in doctor's surgeries, opticians, dentists, community centres, library. Go for saturation coverage.

    Ask your local paper for help. They will often make a story around your group which helps.

    Contact your local hearing loss volunteers : AOHL, Hearing Concern etc. If you are feeling brave get on TV and radio.

    Best wishes.

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