Sound of Change helps to end isolation

The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre (IDHHC) has launched what could be a life altering program for some Victoria residents.

Shirley DeWolfe recently received hearing aids through a program called Sound of Change

The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre (IDHHC), a local not-for-profit organization, has launched what could be a life altering program for some Victoria residents.

The program, called Sound of Change, provides free hearing assessments, treatment services, and free refurbished hearing aids to low-income seniors and adults. For some clients like Shirley DeWolfe, aged 75, it’s been a life changing experience.

“My mother’s hearing loss had progressed to the point where she didn’t like to leave her home, and she couldn’t even go to a doctor’s appointment or have any sort of interaction with people without my going along to provide support,” said her daughter, Teresa Bell, adding the level of isolation felt by her mother had a profound effect on her well-being.

The family tried to get help for her mother in the past, recounting a heart-rending experience when her mother attempted to purchase a hearing aid from a local company.

“She went in and got their free hearing assessment and they tested her and let her try a hearing aid. She was so happy she was crying. It was the first time in forever she could hear my voice clearly and the sound of the world in general. Then they found out she had no credit card and didn’t qualify for credit, and they took it back,” said Bell. “She was devastated.”

She said learning about the IDHHC program was a life saver.

The Sound of Change program has, in part, been made possible through the support of the Lions of B.C. Hearing Conservation Society, that helped collect the discarded hearing aids and donated them to the IDHCC for refurbishing.

But Denise Robertson, IDHHC executive director, explained the refurbished units were only part of the puzzle as the IDHHC still had to access the needed equipment to do hearing assessments and create the earpieces for the refurbished units.

While the program targets low-income individuals, Robertson said every case is reviewed on its own merits, and the goal is to turn no one away who truly needs the service, adding the fact that vets qualify for a hearing aid from Veteran’s Affairs and Employment B.C. has a program to help with hearing aids if a hearing loss is threatening your employment.

Another part of IDHHC involves educating the public about hearing loss. Robertson said the problem of hearing loss in Canada is only growing as the population ages and other factors take root in our society. A 2013 review of data by Statistics Canada estimated 4.6 million Canadians aged 20 to 79 had a hearing loss that affected their ability to hear normal speech. The report acknowledged the number to probably be much higher as many people experiencing hearing loss are reluctant to admit their condition.

“We need to educate the public that this is a public health issue and that people with hearing loss are not intellectually challenged…they simply can’t hear, and shouldn’t be ostracized by the community as a result,” said Robertson.

“It’s that attitude preventing too many people from seeking help.”

As for DeWolfe, she’s thrilled with the outcome of her outreach to IDHHC, and described the fact she can hear again as life restoring.

“I can hear frogs, birds and quails on my deck now. I can go to meetings and I can hear. It’s like being born again,” she said.

Information on the Sound of Change program is available at idhhc.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Victoria Police seize drugs, replica firearms and $50,000 in cash after searching Victoria home

A property in the 600-block of Manchester Avenue is focus of investigation

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read