Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Henley Rotary Club

“PLEASE be a hearing aid,” the speaker urged members at the club’s twilight meeting held at the Red Lion Hotel in Henley on Tuesday last week.

John Trett, a technical adviser with Hearing Link, a UK charity for people with hearing loss, their family and friends, emphasised seven points for conversing with a deaf person.

These were: “Get my attention before speaking”; “Face me”; “Come to the point”; “Don’t cover your mouth”; “Don’t turn away while talking”; “Don’t shout”; and “Don’t speak too quickly”.

The speaker, who lives in Lane End and runs two electronic engineering companies, lost his hearing about five years ago following a viral infection.

Since then he has made a study of hearing aids and other issues for people with this hidden disability.

Hearing Link, which merged with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in 2017, runs a hearing hub at its offices at the Grange, Saunderton, near Princes Risborough.

Trained volunteers, many of whom live with hearing loss themselves, explain to people how to find equipment best suited for them, test devices before buying, explore the range of communication products available and learn about services which may help.

Mr Trett emphasised that one of his main campaigns was to ensure that venues such as theatres, churches and community halls, which advertise that they have a loop system, know enough about the system to make it operative.

On many occasions when he had complained to organisers that the system was not available, he found the staff did not know how to use it, or it was installed incorrectly or not working properly.

He said the charity had set up a community support project with Rotary called “Let’s Hear,” which entailed setting up groups in different places.

President Peter Thomson promised that the club would consider how it could help.

The vote of thanks was given by James Frost, who has worn hearing aids for 20 years.

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