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Age Friendly Ireland

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Programme: National

WHO Theme: Social Participation

Health & Wellbeing Theme: Staying Connected

Funding Stream: Community Resilience Fund Covid, National

Resources Required: Community Support, Financial

Cost: 0-500


100 people with significant hearing loss who had difficulty communicating (e.g. in person or over the phone) were provided with an assistive listening device to help them converse with family and friends and listen to the TV or radio. The Covid-19 pandemic has created many challenges within society, including increased social isolation and vulnerability. The Community Response Action Plan led by Local Authorities is an important initiative to reach out to vulnerable people, but some groups and individuals will be more difficult to reach and support. One such group are those people living alone who have significant hearing loss. Hearing loss is very prevalent among the older population, with over 50% of people aged over 70 having a significant hearing loss. Approximately one third of them live alone. However, the majority of people with hearing loss do not use hearing aids, and those with more severe hearing loss are unable to make phone calls. Within this group, those who live alone are at most risk of isolation and are less able to access assistance at a time of need. The aim of this project is to use an assistive listening device to engage and support up to 100 older people with significant hearing loss who typically live alone, are at high risk of social isolation, and are greatly disadvantaged in reaching out and seeking assistance at a time of need. This was identified as a significant increased need during Civid-19 restrictions within the Service Users/Family Carer Experience via Representative Bodies HSE Covid Work Stream. The project is supported by the HSE through the funding of equipment and will be implemented jointly by Chime and ALONE.

Aim of Initiative

Older people with significant hearing loss who are typically not using hearing aids.

Who is it aimed at

Older people with significant hearing loss who are typically not using hearing aids.

Steps critical to success

  1. Partnership
  2. Communicating the concept
  3. Reaching people

Challenges in Planning / Delivery

  1. Reaching people due to restrictions.
  2. Maintaining contact.

Outcomes / Benefits

  1. Improved communication and contact with others.
  2. Many reported the device as a ‘Godsend’ that transformed their quality of life.
  3. Family members enjoyed more contact with person and less worry/ frustration.

Evaluation / Report:
Device cost 150 per person by 100 participants. Report is presently being drafted.

Brendan Lennon, Chime,