Hi Kent, the county’s charity for people with hearing loss, runs courses providing extra support to cope with the challenges that arise when this vital sense is diminishing.
The courses also offer the opportunity to be with other people in the same situation.
This can have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, says Debra Jones, Hi Kent’s lipreading co-ordinator. Here she explains about the courses on offer and how they can help with hearing loss.
Learning to lipread when you have a hearing loss can be life changing! We all lipread to a certain extent but we can teach you to refine this skill and then use it to pick up on conversation that your hearing aids may not follow.
We will also teach you how to spell out words on your fingers and to interpret body language. This, together with ‘watching’ what is being said, can combine to help you enjoy conversation again. All Hi Kent classes are taught by qualified tutors, free of charge and are held weekly in term time in 25 locations.
Tinnitus Support Groups
We have nine support groups all over Kent, offering free sessions for people living with tinnitus. This provides the opportunity to share experiences and coping strategies in a relaxed, friendly environment. Our staff, who run the courses, are trained by the British Tinnitus Association. We often have therapists and expert speakers attending too.
British Sign Language
British Sign Language (levels 1-3) is taught in centres all over Kent. BSL is an extremely useful skill if you have deaf family members or when needed as part of your job. We also run ‘taster’ courses which teach the basics of BSL and these can be for either individuals or organisations.
Deaf Awareness Courses
Deaf awareness training can be arranged by Hi Kent for any frontline staff whose job brings them into contact with the public and this can be tailored to the needs of the organisation. The course can be delivered anywhere in the south east region in mornings, afternoons, evenings or weekends. These will help your workforce provide an even better service for those one in five members of the community who have a hearing loss.
Debra said: “Please do not hesitate to contact us if you think we can help.”
Find out more about these courses on the Hi Kent website
Watch a Hi Kent video on its lipreading classes: