“It’s good being in the community supporting people instead of them needing to go to the hospital to get their batteries or hearing aids cleaned or re-tubed. Some people are scared of hospital settings but the drop-ins are more relaxed and people find it easier to open up about problems they are having.”
As someone with hearing loss herself, Marie is aware of the challenges people face.
“Work was challenging because I was relying on my hearing quite a bit, especially on the phone, and because I was not able to see the patients face-to-face and their expressions, it was very difficult.
“I found out about the UK Government’s Access to Work scheme on Action on Hearing Loss’s website and got the ball rolling. I got a work-based assessment and which helped me to get assistive equipment which included an amplified phone and personal listener.
When Marie took early retirement, she decided to spend some of her time volunteering with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland.
Since starting volunteering Marie feels more confident: “I like the contact with people. I have learned more about hearing loss and, on a personal level, I am much more involved in conversations whereas before I would have probably stayed in the background. It’s about getting out there and being more social.”
Marie believes that the key to being a good volunteer is being open: “You just need to be a good listener and learn from the charity’s training about the different types of support that is out there.
“Like all Hear to Help volunteers, I was trained by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde audiology on how to look after and re-tube hearing aids and the charity informed me about assistive equipment such as amplified phones or flashing door bells which are available for people with hearing loss.
Marie relishes volunteering at the drop-in sessions and is looking forward to expanding her support to those who are housebound. “The next step for my volunteering is making home visits to older people who have mobility issues and can’t get to the drop-ins.
“I love supporting individuals to use their hearing aids so that they can take part in conversations with family, friends or carers and I encourage others to volunteer for Hear to Help and make a big difference too.”