Aliona Derrett, Chief Executive, NDA explained: “Demand for our services continues to grow, in particular for the Hearing Support Service. Between April 2015 and March 2017, the number of people we support grew by 70%, from 5,528 to 8,642. So initiatives like the Parachute Jump are very important in helping secure funding for our work. We need more people to come forward and take part in the Parachute Jump, or just come along on the day and support the tandem jumpers. Because of the growth in demand, we are also very keen to recruit more volunteers to assist with our Hearing Support and Befriending Services.”
Ellie Parfitt from near Wymondham, also known online as Deafie Blogger, has booked to take part in the parachute jump. Ellie said: “I'm 20 years old and profoundly deaf. I write blogs for the Phonak Hearing Like Me community blog, as well as my personal blog. I am passionate about deaf awareness, deaf culture and issues around it. Ever since I started blogging, and becoming involved in the deaf community, I've always wanted to do some fundraising for a deaf charity. The opportunity arose for me to do this tandem skydive for NDA, and I feel the funds raised will allow the charity to provide valuable support to those with hearing loss across Norfolk.”
Ann Harrod from Norwich has first hand experience of the support that NDA can provide. Her father, George Barber, who died last year aged 95, was a regular visitor to the Hearing Support Service clinic in Norwich. George was a pressman in the local shoe industry, working in a noisy environment. He spent his whole employment in the shoe industry, except for war service.
“When my Dad’s hearing began to fail,” said Ann, “ I suggested he needed a hearing aid, but it had to be his decision. It was fitted at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and eventually he had hearing aids fitted for both ears. Dad had problems with his hearing aids, they whistled a lot and he needed to get them cleaned and maintained. I found out about NDA when they were on Silver Road. I began volunteering at Pabulum Alzheimers support, which was below the NDA office.”
“It was becoming very difficult for me to take Dad to the Norfolk & Norwich clinic, so imagine my relief, when NDA offered to send a Hearing Support volunteer to visit him at home and look after his hearing aids, cleaning the tubes and checking the batteries. Sadly my mum was suffering from dementia and Dad wasn’t keen to leave her, so getting a volunteer to do home visits was a real bonus.”
After my Mum died in 2008, I began taking Dad to the Hearing Support Clinic at NDA’s Head Office, which is now on Thorpe Road. He loved to chat with volunteers and find out how they were getting on, while they checked and cleaned his hearing aids. Margaret, Sylvia and Norman were a wonderful support. Dad really appreciated what they did for him and he enjoyed their company. They were his friends. The volunteers sent me a lovely card when he died.”
“NDA’s Assistive Listening Technology Clinic also proved very useful. Dad was finding it difficult to hear an ordinary telephone. We were able to get advice from NDA on what was available and purchased a telephone with a higher volume and large press buttons.”
“I always publicise the work of NDA whenever I can and have introduced David and Pete, who live by themselves after their wives passed away, to NDA’s services. David suffers from tinnitus and both he and Peter are helped out with their hearing aids.”
Whilst many of us take our hearing for granted, the Action on Hearing Loss Fact Sheet (April 2016), showed that hearing loss affects over 11 million adults and 45,000 children in the UK. This has an enormous personal, social and economic impact. Of this figure, over 5 million people are of working age. NDA aims to support those with hearing loss to enable them to engage fully in all aspects of life.
Norfolk Deaf Association was established in 1898 and currently has a team of 11 staff as well as more than 50 essential volunteers.
More than 124,000 people in Norfolk have some degree of hearing loss. This equates to 1 in 7 people.
NDA provides the following services: Hearing Support Service, Befriending Service, Tinnitus Support Group, Hard of Hearing group (HUSH! Club) and Hearing Loss Awareness Training for commercial and public sector organisations as well as individuals.
Of the two million people in the UK that have a hearing aid, only 1.4 million wear it regularly.
It is estimated that by 2031, 14.5 million people in the UK will have hearing loss (approx. 20% of the population)
Norfolk Deaf Association is based at 120 Thorpe Road, Norwich, NR1 1RT. T. 01603 404440. www.norfolkdeaf.org.uk.