- Moderate hearing loss is very common especially in the over 60s.
- It can destroy a sufferer's 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.
- 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.
- Use a room which is the right size for the numbers (not too big).
- Ensure that speakers understand the needs of members with hearing loss.
- 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 hard of hearing 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 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.