Hearing Loss Guide for Care Homes

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones has backed the launch of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s guide for care home staff to help them support residents with hearing loss.

The charity, which has been working with Age Cymru’s My Home Life Cymru programme to produce the guide – entitled “Quality of Life for Residents with Hearing Loss” – aims to improve the quality of life of care home residents who have hearing loss, is holding a celebration event at the National Assembly for Wales, sponsored by Ann Jones on Wednesday 9th January.

Chair of the Assembly’s All Party Group on Deaf Issues, Ann Jones has been working to help improve the lives of the more than 534,000 people suffering from hearing loss in Wales.

Ann Jones said:

“The consequences of hearing loss can be debilitating; feelings often start with loneliness but can quickly progress to depression. These feeling can be particularly prevalent in a care home setting where people are away from their families. This is why the new programme, developed by a number of leading charities, is vitally important.

“Equipping care home staff to detect the early signs of hearing loss will no doubt be a life line for those who want to be active and healthy individuals well into their old age.

“Given that Wales has an aging population coupled with the fact that the number of people with hearing loss in Wales is due to rise to more than 700,000 by 2031 – this remains an important issue.”

One of the main issues for care home staff is the need for information and training on hearing aid maintenance. The guide signposts resources that can be of help for staff. The bilingual booklet will be distributed free to all 740 care homes in Wales.

The guide was written with the support of care home workers who shared their tips on best practice in the care of people with hearing loss.

Working at Castle Court care home in Chepstow, Cheryl Merrony is called their ‘Hearing Aid Queen’. Cheryl lost a great deal of her hearing as a child and understands the problems facing residents with hearing loss.

Cheryl Merrony said:

“We have so many residents here who have hearing loss – around three quarters of them have hearing aids, and because I understand what it’s like when you have problems, I decided to look after them myself. Every day I check with the residents that their hearing aids are switched on properly, batteries are working and that there’s no whistling of any blockages in the tubes.”

Richard Williams, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru added:

“Working with the My Home Life Cymru to produce this publication has been a great opportunity for Action on Hearing Loss Cymru to help care home staff get a better understanding of the realities of life for people with hearing loss. It can take some time to adjust to wearing a hearing aid and it’s important that older people in care homes get the support they need to make the most of hearing aids, including regular maintenance.”

Action on Hearing Loss Cymru is also working in partnership with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, RNIB Cymru and Sense Cymru to develop standards on sensory loss which will be included in the inspection of care homes during 2013.