u3a - Diversity and Inclusion - Hearing

u3a u3aplus hearing

Hearing loss

  • Moderate hearing loss is very common especially in the over 60s.
  • It can destroy natural confidence and lead to isolation and depression.
  • It can be compensated by hearing aids and other technical devices but most of all by sympathetic and knowledgeable support from peers.
  • Being able to see the lip patterns of the speaker and ensuring one person speaks at a time will also help people with hearing loss to follow what is being said.
  • u3a activities are an ideal therapy for the social isolation which hearing loss can bring.

Making open meetings accessible

  • Provide a well-installed induction loop and PA system.
  • Check the equipment before the meeting.
  • Or consider purchasing a portable loop system such as a Conversor
  • Use a room that is the right size for the numbers (not too big).
  • Ensure that speakers understand the needs of members with hearing loss (See our Notes for speakers).
  • Display important information on a screen or provide printed handouts.

Making interest groups accessible

  • The vital element is understanding and support from group leaders and members.
  • Make sure hearing-impaired members can explain their needs, confident of the support of the group.
  • Indoor discussion groups should use a room appropriate to the numbers and with good lighting.
  • Technical aids such as portable induction loops and personal listeners can be useful but they should be tested first in a realistic situation before buying.
  • u3as should share their experiences and successes in making their activity more accessible.

For access to support from other organisations please click here