People with hearing loss in the Brecon area could be at risk of loneliness and isolation, should an essential hearing clinic close next year, as planned.
Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s free hearing aid clinics change lives every day across Wales, by helping people to manage their hearing loss in local communities. But funding ends and the clinics will have to close in 2016, putting 6,000 people in Wales at risk of loneliness and other problems.
Jackie Poley, an Action on Hearing Loss Cymru volunteer at a clinic in Brecon, said: “Hear to Help is an invaluable service for many people who wear hearing aids, particularly those who live in rural communities. We carry out maintenance such as fitting new batteries or replacing tubing, as well as providing advice and support. As a hearing aid user myself I understand the issues people face.”
Currently the clinics are being funded by the Big Lottery Fund. However, funding runs out in 2016.
At a cost of just £25 per patient each year, Action on Hearing Loss Cymru is asking the health boards in Wales to keep funding this essential service.
Kirsty Williams AM attended the launch of the Brecon Hear to Help clinic last year, which runs on the first Tuesday of each month, from 2-4pm at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Street, Brecon. Ms Williams said, “For many people in Brecon it’s too far to travel to the nearest audiology unit, so having this service close by is of great benefit. It would be a huge loss for rural Welsh communities like ours if these local hearing clinics had to close.
“Health boards in Wales need to fund these clinics to ensure the people of Wales can continue to live well with hearing loss for years to come.”
Richard Williams, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru said, “Our clinics also relieve the pressure on busy audiology departments and ensure highly-trained audiologists are free to deal with more complex cases. In a recent survey, 84% of people supported by the service said they would have gone to audiology if we weren’t there.”
To support the campaign to save your local hearing clinic visit http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/saveheartohelp