Each month we feature a local organisation, to celebrate its activities or highlight a particular event in the recent past or coming up in the near future.
This week we are featuring Risborough-based 'Hearing Dogs for Deaf People', a charity supported by well known Haddenham resident, Freda Dorrell, and one of the beneficiaries of her fund raising event held over the weekend just passed.
Nearly 9 million people in the UK experience some hearing loss. This represents approximately one in seven of the adult UK population.
Learning to live with deafness can be a devastating experience. Many people say they lost their sense of security, confidence and independence when they lost their hearing. Deafness is an invisible disability and can lead to isolation and loneliness as people withdraw, finding it increasingly hard to communicate.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a national charity and centre of excellence in training hearing dogs to alert deaf people to everyday household sounds and danger signals in the home, work place and in public buildings.
Hearing Dogs was launched at Crufts dog show in 1982. Since then the charity has created over 1,600 life-changing partnerships between deaf people and hearing dogs in the UK. There are currently over 750 working partnerships in the country.
Hearing dogs are trained to alert deaf people to important household sounds and danger signals such as the alarm clock, doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm — providing independence, confidence and valuable companionship.
Trained dogs alert their deaf recipients to household sounds by touching them with a paw or nudging with a nose to gain attention. The recipient then asks the dog 'what is it?' by voice and/or hand command and then the hearing dog leads the recipient to the source of the sound. For danger signals such as the smoke alarm, the hearing dog will alert the recipient in the same way, but when asked 'what is it?' the dog will lie down to indicate danger.
For more information, vist the Hearing Dogs website.