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      Hearing loss charity awarded 1 million Lottery grant to deliver vital support across the UK

      29 September 2016

      Vital information services that enable isolated older people to better manage their hearing loss will be expanded across the UK, in a new project led by charity Action on Hearing Loss.

      Eleven million people are living with hearing loss in the UK. The vast majority of these are aged over 50, with the condition more likely to occur the older people get. Those who leave the condition unmanaged face barriers to communication, making it more likely that they withdraw from social situations and become isolated.

      To challenge these issues the charity has received £972,681 from the Big Lottery Fund to expand its Hear to Inform and Connect project. This will be delivered by specialist staff and trained volunteers working within local communities in London and the South East, Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly focusing on the hardest to reach groups including those living in rural areas, older black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and those living in care homes.

      The service will provide invaluable face-to-face support to empower and increase the number of older people who take action to manage their hearing loss. Through a mixture of information stands and talks offering advice on all aspects of hearing loss from getting hearing aids to learning how to lip-read, the project will help people be better informed and keep them connected to family, friends and the world around them.

      Research also shows that hearing loss is closely linked to mental health issues, doubling the risk of developing depression and increasing the risk of anxiety. The charity will help organisations in the areas covered by the project, such as community clubs and voluntary groups, to become more accessible and ensure that they increase their ability to support those living with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss more effectively.

      This coincides with the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, a designated day by the United Nations to recognise the important contributions that older people make to the world, while raising awareness about ageing issues.

      Chief Executive at charity Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant by the Big Lottery Fund to begin expanding our face-to-face information services across the UK. We have worked closely with the Big Lottery Fund to demonstrate the need to educate people about the hidden disability and we are keen to help those who may be struggling the most to manage their hearing loss including people in rural areas, older BAME communities, and those living in care homes.

      “This money will go a long way to help us raise awareness of deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss within local communities in the UK and we look forward to encouraging people to take action to ensure that they continue to feel connected to the world around them despite their hearing loss.”

      Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at the Big Lottery Fund said: “This project is equipping older people who may face barriers to accessing services with vital information and tools to help manage their hearing loss. Those living with the condition can feel socially isolated and this project tackles this head on by breaking down communication barriers and enabling older people to talk through their issues with trained staff and volunteers.”

      The project is due to launch in November 2016 with funding running for three years. For more information on Hear to Inform and Connect including to register your interest as a volunteer or supporting organisation, contact Crystal Rolfe, on crystal.rolfe@hearingloss.org.uk or 020 7296 8362.

      ENDS/

      For media enquiries contact

      Email PR team at prteam@hearingloss.org.uk @HearingLossPR 

      Notes to Editors

      • Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose.  Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.
      • For more information about how Action on Hearing Loss supports those with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss in local communities please visit the website: www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/supporting-you
      • The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year we invest over £650 million and award around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.
      • Research taken from Saito H, Nishiwaki Y, Michikawa T, Kikuchi Y, Mizutari, K, Takebayashi T and Ogawa K, 2010. Hearing handicap predicts the development of depressive symptoms after three years in older community dwelling Japanese. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58 (1), 93-7.