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"Forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood.
If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed."
These were the words of Ludwig van Beethoven. Today, over 200 years later, things haven't changed much for many people living with hearing loss.
General Sir Peter de la Billière, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the 1990 Gulf War, has said:
"My inability to hear around the home has created isolation for me and my family... The isolation is debilitating to my confidence and makes me increasingly withdrawn."
Hearing loss affects as many as 1 in 6 of the UK population. This ranges from profound deafness to progressive and age-related hearing loss. Those affected can experience social withdrawal, isolation, and loneliness as well as reduced physical and psychological wellbeing and depression.
Hearing loss can affect anyone of any age and can create invisible barriers within social groups, in work settings, and even between family members.
We are fighting to prevent a possible hearing crisis and to help those living with deafness and hearing loss. But we can't do it alone. Only with your help can we continue our vital work to improve the lives of those affected. What's more, your generosity could help us to find the cure to deafness and hearing loss that would stop this potential crisis in its tracks.