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Staying Connected –living with hearing loss, mine or yours 


         

In March 2016 West Oxford U3A organised a sell-out, highly successful, study day on Living with Hearing Loss held in the Chakrabarti Lecture Theatre at Oxford Brookes University.  It was a ground breaking venture in that it addressed a challenge, age-related deafness, that faces most of our members, either directly or indirectly, yet was a subject that had hitherto been ignored.  It further utilised various ways of assisting communication with those who have hearing loss in order that they continue to be included in conversation and had the ability to understand each lecture.  West Oxford U3A has made available details on how to organise a similar study day for other U3As to follow suit and these are listed below.

    • Locate a local venue that has an induction loop system already installed.  These are not so easy to find so be prepared to investigate hiring a portable loop to be placed around the perimeter of the hall.  Health and safety issues apply would apply though – people may trip over the wires, so take precautions.  Good places to look are educational establishments, community centres, conference centres, hotels.
    • Provide a British Sign Language interpreter if you have profoundly deaf people applying.  These are extremely expensive so investigate if you have one already amongst your membership and ask if they would offer their services.
    • Apply to the many charity organisations for the deaf that exist and request sufficient copies of their free information literature.  Search on google for the list.  We used Action for Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, local Social Workers for the deaf, National Association for Deaf people, Hearing Link, Connevans (for list of products available to help deaf people).  There are many others, so apply to those specialising in the areas you want to emphasise at your day.
    • Estimate your budget based on the room hire + speaker fees (+/or travel expenses) + administration costs (don’t under-estimate these), lunches if the cost is to be inclusive then divide by the number of seats available in your hall.  This is the cost per person to attend.  Organise lunches, tea and coffee.
    • Include partners of deaf people within your flyer and application form. This is most important because they are ones who are living with the effects of deafness too and need support and tips on how to communicate.
    • Try to break even on costs and apply to your local area U3A network for possible financial backing.  West Oxford U3A committee funded the entire day themselves but Thames Valley  Network offered to cover any shortfall.
    • Search for other donors towards running costs.  Not easy but maybe your speakers will not charge a fee so that is a great contribution towards reducing running costs.  This was our situation and we gave all speakers a ‘thank you’ present instead.  Be prepared to pay travel expenses though.
    • Speakers – we used a private audiologist, but the NHS could also be approached, to talk about age-related deafness, tinnitus and help available.  A speaker from Hearing Link to cover the emotional and social side and how they can help.  A social worker for the deaf.  And a very experienced teacher of adults in the skills of lip reading.  But you can tailor make your day to the areas in which YOU want to concentrate.
Registered charity no. 1108125