Being hard of hearing can be very difficult and challenging in a world where information is provided from a multitude or sources and requires all senses to absorb it completely. Fortunately, there are many devices, services and support available to help the hard of hearing improve their lifestyle and assist them in their daily tasks.
The options available depend on the particular case, age, income and causes of the hearing loss. The first and probably the most important is access to information about hearing loss, hearing aids, assistive hearing devices, etc. Such comprehensive information can be found on the NHS website, the RNID website or helplines or the numerous blogs that post relevant news and updates on the development of the hearing aid technologies and new trends and services.
One of the most significant benefits is the opportunity to get a hearing aid free from the NHS. Although, the variety of the hearing aids are surpassed by that of the private dispensers' and choice is limited, hearing aids from NHS can be the only option for some people with hearing loss. In addition, you can get domes, tubing and batteries for the hearing aid also without having to pay.
Thankfully in the UK there is a comprehensive benefit system aimed to support different groups or communities with disabilities, including the hard of hearing and provides them with the needed equipment or financial assistance to help their condition.
Help with hearing equipment
In case you need hearing equipment either for home, work or at an educational facility there are ways you can get help with installing and financing it. You can contact the social services at your local authority to help you decide what kind of home device will be the most beneficial for your condition, e.g. an amplified phone, a textphone, loop system, vibrating or flashing alarm for the doorbell or fire alarm, etc. If you need hearing assistance at your workplace, you may be eligible for the Access to Work programme sponsored by the government. It completely covers the costs of all types of communication services such as notetakers, lipspeakers or British sign language interpreters. Depending on the length of your employment, your employer may also have to pay for equipment that will let you do your job more quickly and efficiently including a loop system or a telephone amplifier.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing and a student, you may apply for Disabled Students' Allowances to cover the expenses for hearing equipment and services. Moreover, many colleges provide support and assistance to students with disabilities so it is best to contact your support officer for more information.
There are various financial schemes to help you cover entirely or in part some daily costs if you are hard of hearing. One is assistance for transport that could translate to a free or discounted travel. A rail card for disabled people is available for those who wear hearing aids. Other programmes include Disability Living Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Attendance Allowance, Carer's Allowance, etc.
To check if you are entitled to any or several of these or additional compensation schemes you need to check with your local authority, visit www.direct.gov.uk, or contact Jobcentre Plus.