The charity started in late 2017 with the help of a group of Rotarians including the then district governor, Cheryl Berry, and was financed by a Rotary Foundation matching grant of £4,000 supported by four local Rotary Clubs.
The original idea was to demonstrate how important hearing is to our overall sense of wellbeing – of ourselves, our family members, our friends and organisations to which we belong.
Studies show that people with hearing problems take five to seven years from first noticing something has changed, to action being taken and that one in four over 65s have a problem, rising to one in two for the over 80s.
There are 11 million people today in the UK with some form of hearing loss.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates by 2050 there will be one in four people in the world with a hearing loss — some 2.5 billion people!
The core message Rotarians received was to look after their hearing, as we look after our vision.
40% of the population are excessively disturbed by back ground noise and everyone subconsciously lip reads.
The Hearing Ambassadors’ guidelines for communication with people with hearing loss is to have fun, be patient, curious and kind.
During the presentation, there were four polls Rotary members were encouraged to complete.
One discussed and assessed four typical meeting room situations and how they could be used for better communication.
They were also coached in the use of microphone techniques, where to stand in front of an audience etc.
The Rotary Zoom meetings can now assist those with hearing related problems using the ‘speech to text’ facility on their presentation.
This is very fast and reactive and very accurate for this type of speech to text conversion. A transcript of the meeting will be available to download, before any meeting closes, keeping a record of the meeting.
Rotary spokesman David Mason said: “When Rotarians get back to holding attended meetings, we can ensure that the seating and tables are better positioned and there is an adequate sound system facility.
“We can ensure the seating/ tables are better positioned and experience from other Rotary clubs will help with microphone use.
“We are encouraged to spread the word about hearing and encourage everyone to become a hearing ambassador.”
For more information about the Rotary joining or working with Rotary. Please contact: P. Marriott, 01472 852054
Gillian and Andrew are open to give presentations to other clubs and organisations.
They are also looking for volunteers to help them with their work and would welcome too financial donations to help them develop their work.
For more information about hearing, email [email protected] .