Following on from the success of our on-line classes this Autumn, the Trust is planning to run more on-line classes in 2021. From February an additional class will be on Monday mornings and an evening class on a Wednesdays. Go to Our Courses to check details.
I'm Molly Berry and I teach ‘Lipreading and Managing Hearing loss’ classes. There are estimated to be about 10 million people in the UK with some sort of hearing problem, including tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and about 4 million of these people are hearing aid users, so you are sure to know someone who is struggling to hear.
These are difficult times for all of us, but for those with hearing loss there are added problems, you see, hearing aids don't cure hearing loss - we need to confirm what someone is saying by watching the face, and in particular, the lips, which is impossible with everyone wearing masks. The regulations state that if you are with a person who needs to lipread, you don't have to wear a mask, also, if you meet someone who is deaf or has hearing loss, you are asked to move two metres away and lower your mask when speaking to them. This may not be something everyone is aware of.
It can be very isolating, and mental health issues go hand in hand with hearing loss, which isn't helped by the stigma associated with it. Though it is more common in the older age group, hearing loss can affect anyone of any age or ethnicity, and people often don't want to admit they are struggling to hear. Then there is listening fatigue. Because we must concentrate really hard, just to hear the words that are being said, we run out of processing capacity, so we may not remember what was said. We end the day exhausted. Background noise is a huge problem for us. Natural hearing is able to block out most of that, and focus on the sounds you want to hear, but hearing aids amplify everything, the aids can't know what we want to hear and what we don't, so social situations are particularly difficult, which is really sad, because we often feel like outsiders in our own families, which is especially hard at Christmas.
But there are things all of us can do to help those with hearing loss, from wearing clear face masks, lowering your mask when you speak to someone who is hard of hearing, making sure you are facing the person, getting their attention before you start, speaking clearly and not too fast. In a group, let the person with hearing loss know the topic, and when that topic changes, speak one at a time, and turn down the music.
Molly Berry is the Chair of ATLA (Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults.)
Times for on-line classes are currently 11.00 - 12.00.
We know it's particularly tough for the hard of hearing people during Covid-19. Our normal lipreading classes have had to be postponed but the good news is that we are going on-line to offer lipreading classes via Zoom.
Our Lipreading Tutor, Helen, has two classes running for the Leslie Edwards Trust; Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 10.30-11.30, weekly. Helen is clear that "using online technologies such as Zoom enables us to keep in contact and practice our vital lipreading and hearing loss management skills in a welcoming and supportive environment during the Covid-19 pandemic". Members who have joined describe the classes as informative and fun, giving each one the opportunity to share tips, keeping up and developing skills to enhance their social and professional lives... all with the aim of being able to cope better when lockdown finally eases. The classes are small to give each member an opportunity to get involved.
The other bonus to on-line classes is that anyone can join in... not just those who can get to our face-to-face sessions. The sessions can be accessed via smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer.
Check out our page on courses for further information, or get in touch via our contact page.