Deafness Debated in the Scottish Parliament

FROM SHOP TO SCREEN, JULIE SHARES HER STORY ON HEARING LOSS

For proof that hearing loss doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving your goals in life then look no further than Julie McElroy.

Born prematurely and later diagnosed with both cerebral palsy and profound sensory neural hearing loss, Julie is a prolific campaigner on disability issues in her home city of Glasgow.

Recently she has turned her attention to raising awareness of deafness, hearing loss and the need for a structured and disciplined hearing care regime.

Julie teamed up with the hearing aid dispenser who helped her find an effective solution for her own impairment, Greg Clements of The Hearing Company.

The two of them have prepared a short educational film on hearing care matters, which is being unveiled at the Scottish Parliament later this month in readiness for Deaf Awareness Week (28 June – 4 July).

Julie said: “Having a hearing impairment is one of the worst social disabilities a person can experience.  My deafness wasn’t diagnosed until I was five years old and without hearing aids I can’t pick up any sounds unless they are exceptionally loud, such as a fire alarm or ambulance siren.

“The Hearing Company kindly offered to assist me in finding a hearing aid system that would allow me to make the best use of the hearing I have left.

“My speech and my hearing remain the most common difficulties I have out of everything else but I am so grateful to them for the improvements achieved and the positive impact this has had on my life.”

According to the Scottish Council on Deafness, there are just over one million people in Scotland who have some degree of hearing loss.  The figure for the whole of the UK is around nine million.

That desire to help people hear better is now reaching further out into the community with Julie and Greg screening their film for the first time on 24 June at Holyrood.

The screening is being preceded by a parliamentary members’ debate on deafness and hearing loss following a motion lodged by Bill Kidd, MSP for Glasgow. For more information click here http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/scotland/newsid_8751000/8751626.stm

Julie hopes both events will help raise awareness of hearing loss and ways in which those affected by it can access help and advice. 

She said: “We are launching the campaign just before the start of Deaf Awareness Week, which is a well established industry event designed to improve understanding of different types of deafness and the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people.

“I know through personal experience how difficult and isolating hearing loss can be.  If sharing my story will make more people feel motivated to take better care of their hearing or seek support if they are having problems then it’s certainly worthwhile.”

To see a preview of the Julie’s film with The Hearing Company visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B6AIKp0aG0.

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