Norfolk Deaf Association

Norfolk Deaf Association (NDA) marked National Volunteers’ Week with a tea party to thank the charity’s volunteers, at its Norwich headquarters, on Wednesday, June 7. The charity is appealing for more volunteers for its Hearing Support Service and Befriending Service.  

Volunteers are the life-blood of NDA’s Hearing Support Service, looking after more than 8,000 service users a year. The Hearing Support Service offers home visits, as well as a minibus mobile clinic, which visits 27 towns and villages throughout Norfolk. There are also nearly 100 community clinics, most of which are for residents at nursing homes and sheltered schemes, but some are open to the general public.

In addition, NDA’s Befriending Service offers support and friendship to members of the community who experience any degree of hearing loss, as well as being by affected by, for example, loneliness, isolation and disability. Whatever the reason, NDA’s aim is to help the befriendee overcome their problems by offering the special support of a volunteer befriender.

Aliona Laker, Chief Executive, NDA explained: “Our hard working volunteers are vital to ensuring that we meet the growing demand for our services. I cannot thank them enough for the time that they give to NDA. Between April 2015 and September 2016, the number of people we support grew by 57% to 8,642. Because of the growth in this demand, we need to recruit more volunteers to assist with our Hearing Support and Befriending Services.”

Mary Johnson from Bradwell has been a volunteer for 20 years: “I work on the monthly Mobile Clinic at Acle and Brundall and also do up to eight home visits a month helping people look after their hearing aids, replacing tubes, fitting ear moulds correctly and supplying new batteries. I started as a volunteer with NDA soon after I retired. I had both family experience and work experience at the Clare School in Norwich, and knew the value of ensuring people had confidence in using their hearing aids. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I am helping people with hearing loss; so many have hearing problems.”

Maria Gialanze, from Blofield, has been a volunteer for 10 years: “ I moved to Norfolk from Maidenhead where I used to volunteer with Maidenhead Care. I found NDA, soon after arriving here, when I wanted advice about registering my hearing aids with the NHS. I decided to volunteer and began with the Mobile Clinic, but soon started as a befriending volunteer and doing home visits to help residents in sheltered accommodation and nursing homes with their hearing aids. I love it; I meet lots of different people. It is so important to help people with their hearing.”

Chris Finch from Swaffham started volunteering for NDA six year ago: “I am a retired school teacher and was doing nothing. I heard about NDA and thought it would be good to learn about hearing aids and help out. I began working on the Mobile Clinic in Mid Norfolk. I was soon meeting up to 25 people at a clinic and in time became something of an expert in looking after hearing aids. It is great to be able to solve hearing aid problems and help our service users be more confident in their use.”

Maddie Goolden from Norwich has been a volunteer for 13 years: “Initially I was an admin volunteer in the office, then went back to work as a social worker and trained as a Hearing Support Service Volunteer. I do home visits in Norwich, up to six a month. I really enjoy meeting people and helping them with hearing aid problems, A visit takes up to 30minutes. I had my own hearing aids fitted for the first time two months ago. It’s perfect having the knowledge as a volunteer, as I can look after them myself.”

Norman Drake from Rockland St Mary, has been a volunteer for two years: “I came to the Norwich head office for help with my hearing aids and decided to volunteer at the weekly clinic there. I also do home visits in Rockland St Mary. Since I retired I’ve always volunteered and I find working with NDA very rewarding.”

Here’s some feedback the Hearing Support Service clinic at Cavell Court: “Great drop in. I popped in last week, the lady there was very helpful and patient and taught me useful tips about my aids and management of my hearing difficulties. Thanks.”

For more information about volunteering opportunities, or hearing aid clinics, contact Norfolk Deaf Association, t. 01603 404440, email nda@norfolkdeaf.org.ukwww.norfolkdeaf.org.uk

Norfolk Deaf Association (NDA) is dedicated to improving the lives of young people and adults with all degrees of hearing loss. This is achieved by providing hearing aid maintenance, advice on assistive listening technology and communication methods, and support and information on hearing loss and other related conditions.

The Norfolk Deaf Association:

1. The charity was first established in 1898 and currently has a team of eight staff as well as more than 65 volunteers.

2. More than 124,000 people in Norfolk have some degree of hearing loss.

This equates to 1 in 7 people.

3. The NDA provides the following services:

Hearing Support Service, Befriending Service, Tinnitus Support Group, Hard of Hearing group (HUSH! Club) and Deafness Awareness Training for commercial and public sector organisations as well as individuals.

4. Of the 2 million people in the UK that wear a hearing aid, only 1.4 million wear it regularly. Of the 124,000 Norfolk people that are registered as deaf, only 34% receive any support. The NDA is determined to improve that statistic.

It is estimated that by 2031, 14.5 million people in the UK will have hearing loss (approx. 20% of the population)