November 2009: The Hertfordshire Hearing Advisory Service (HHAS) has launched a free service for people in Hertfordshire to get their hearing checked.
One in seven people in the UK has a hearing loss, but many do not seek professional advice due to the stigma of hearing loss.
Philip Linnegar, Chief Executive Officer of HHAS, hopes the charity's new hearing screening service will reach out to some of these people.
"Many people live in denial and cope for as long as possible without doing anything about their hearing loss," said Philip. "People often don't feel confident going to their GP about a hearing problem. We hope to reach out to some of these people by offering a hearing screening service in a friendly and relaxed environment."
The Hearing Screening Service will be available on the third Saturday of each month between 9:30am and midday at The Woodside Centre on The Commons in Welwyn Garden City. The first session of the service was run on Saturday 21 November.
The service is available to anyone living in Hertfordshire and will give people an indication of their hearing loss, although it is not a full hearing test.
One of the HHAS staff providing the service is Gary Appleby, HHAS' Volunteer Co-ordinator. Gary has a severe hearing loss, so understands how distressing it can be.
"When I lost my hearing it was frightening - all of a sudden I couldn't hear what my family was saying and couldn't carry out my work properly as I couldn't hear what my colleagues were saying. My confidence hit the floor," said Gary. "I would encourage anyone in Hertfordshire who is worried about their hearing to try out this service."
The Hearing Screening Service will initially run as a six month pilot. It has been funded by The Graham Rowlandson Foundation, the Hertfordshire Community Trust and PC Werth. Elaine Bond from St Albans City Audiology Department and Lynn Nobbs and Robert Beiny from the Hearing Healthcare Practice in Harpenden provided additional support.
To make an appointment with the Hearing Screening Service, contact the HHAS office on 01707 324 582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.