Did you know that 1 in 6 people has hearing loss in Surrey? Combine this statistic with the increasing older population, and the impact that Covid restrictions had on many people in our communities, and we’re seeing an increase in isolation across the diocese.
But hearing loss is a medical problem, how is the Diocese of Guildford involved?
In the Church we’re called to care for everyone. Hear Here is a Diocese of Guildford project in partnership with Sight for Surrey and the NHS, where NHS audiology trained volunteers provide community-based hearing aid maintenance.
The Hear Here team are celebrating as funding has recently been secured for Hear Here for the next two years from the Guildford and Waverley Better Care Fund. And with more funding comes the opportunity to open and equip more clinics!
Better Care focuses on caring for people at risk of being unable to manage their physical and mental health.
Hear Here is directly addressing the Better Care priority of maximising independence and wellbeing. A Hear Here Clinic, held in a church or community building, offers basic hearing aid maintenance and advice to support hearing aid wearers to get the best from their devices.
Hear Here Clinics provide a range of services to individuals who use hearing aids, including regular maintenance and repair, adjustments and cleaning of devices and advice. The project runs clinics in many churches and community buildings across Surrey. Currently there are 53 Hear Here Clinics!
The clinics help hospital audiology departments from being overwhelmed with easy-to-overcome difficulties and reduce waiting time for those needing help. There is always a Hear Here Clinic nearby with minimal waiting time.
“The Royal Surrey has estimated that we resolve 80-90% of issues in our clinics, thus reducing demand into their busy outpatient clinics and more importantly it means patients avoid a potentially costly and time consuming trip to the hospital.. Since May 2022, 3,000 people have been seen in our clinics,” shares Jude Darby who leads the Hear Here project.
“Our clinics are staffed by Hearing Champions. NHS trained volunteers who offer high-quality, reliable services to individuals who might otherwise struggle to access hearing aid maintenance services. The clinics are also a great opportunity for churches to engage with their local community.”
Recently, a brand new Hear Here Clinic has started at St Mary’s Church, Chiddingfold. Volunteers shared their experience and gave a glowing report of their first ever session:
“We were blessed with warm sunny weather, tea, coffee, cake and fellowship. Attendance exceeded our expectations and we had 17 clients who seemed to be happy with the service that they received and went away content with new improved hearing aids. The demand was obviously there and seemed to be a legacy of the Covid lockdowns, as many hearing aids had not been serviced since 2020.”
If you’d like to start a Hear Here Clinic in your church or community centre, or you’d like to volunteer as a Hearing Champion - please contact Jude Darby the Diocesan Hear Here Lead.