New hearing loss support service coming to Fife

The Royal Institute for Deaf People (RNID) have received Scottish Government funding to provide hearing loss support in the Kingdom.

They have partnered with On Fife to run their first pop-up centre at the Jennie Lee Library in Lochgelly, which will be available every second Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm, starting tomorrow (July 10).

The volunteers will be helping people with hearing loss to maintain their hearing aids, as well as offer mental health support and reduce feelings of isolation.

Melissa O'Neill is a Service Manager with the RNID who suffers with hearing loss herself. She said people often underestimate the issues it can cause.

"If I was sitting in a cafe, I would try and look for a quiet table that wasn't near the coffee machine, wasn't under a speaker, wasn't near the front door, and maybe I would sit with my back to the wall or in a corner so I can only hear the sounds coming in front of me".

"(There's) eighteen million people in the UK that are living with hearing loss, so if you think about that that's one in three adults, so it's someone that you know, definitely someone that you know".

The RNID are hoping to make use of other On Fife venues to provide similar services elsewhere in the Kingdom. This campaign, "Near You", is also being delivered in Glasgow, the Borders, Edinburgh and Lothian and Shetland.

Melissa said the funding from the Scottish Government will help more people with hearing loss get the support they need.

"We're in a really great position of working in partnership with the NHS Audiology department. So they have excellent services, but like all of the very similar medical support (departments) with the NHS, there's waiting lists".

The RNID's work can, in theory, reduce the backlog of cases for the NHS by helping people with hearing aid repairs that may otherwise require the help of the audiology department.

Further details about the Near You campaign in Fife and how to get involved can be found here.

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