November 2009: Sue Walter from Royston was commended for her long-term volunteer service by the Hertfordshire Hearing Advisory Service (HHAS) at their Annual General Meeting yesterday.
Sue has been helping hard of hearing people in the local area for the last 20 years. She started volunteering for the charity because of her own experience of hearing loss.
"At the age of 35 I was diagnosed with a high frequency hearing loss. Even though I was given a hearing aid, it was not the answer. I realised how isolating hearing loss was and wanted to do something to help other people," said Sue.
Every week, Sue visits housebound people, or those living in care homes, to help them with their hearing aid and offer support on coping with hearing loss. She says that when someone's hearing aid has an issue, it is isolating and stressful.
"Not being able to hear is very isolating for the people I visit. They can be in a room with lots of people and everyone's talking and laughing, but they can't hear what they're saying. Also, they can't hear the doorbell, telephone or even their smoke alarm, which is stressful," said Sue. "People are over the moon when I'm able to fix the problem."
Until she retired four years ago, Sue worked as a teacher at North Herts College providing training in lip-reading and deaf awareness. Since retiring she has been able to devote more time to volunteering for the charity and now helps out for about 3 hours every week.
Gary Appleby, HHAS' Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: "We would like to say a big thank you to Sue for her 20 years service to the charity. It is only with the help of volunteers like Sue that we are able to offer support to hundreds of people suffering from hearing loss in the North Hertfordshire area."
HHAS urgently needs more volunteers in Royston to help local people suffering from hearing loss. Of the 16 care homes in Royston, only 6 are currently being visited by an HHAS volunteer.
To find out more about volunteering for the charity, contact Gary Appleby on 01707 324 582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.