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Please donate by going to the website www.hearingdogs.org.uk or by calling 01844 348 100. Or if you’d like to post a donation, please make your cheque payable to ‘Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’ and send it to ‘Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’, The Grange, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9NS.Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a charity close to my heart.
It was back in 1982 that my father – vet Dr Bruce Fogle – co-founded the charity after taking inspiration from a United States scheme which saw dogs specially-trained to alert deaf people to a variety of sounds at home and in public places.
Since then, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has gone on to create over 1,600 life-changing partnerships bringing new levels of independence, confidence and companionship to deaf people through the placement of a hearing dog. With hearing loss on the rise in the UK – up to one-in-six – the support for services like the provision of a hearing dog is needed more than ever before.
I have been truly inspired on many occasions witnessing first hand just how a hearing dog can completely change the life of a deaf person. I hope that this BBC Lifeline appeal will inspire you too.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Founded in 1982, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a world leader in the training of hearing dogs helping to create new levels of independence, confidence and companionship for deaf people, who may have previously felt isolated because of their hearing loss.
Hearing dogs are trained to alert their deaf recipient to a range of sounds both at home and in public. Sounds include the alarm clock, the doorbell, smoke and fire alarms.
When out in public, hearing dogs wear a distinctive burgundy jacket, bringing a visibility to deafness which in itself breaks down some of the loneliness and anxiety that deafness can bring.
With hearing loss on the rise, up to one-in-six in the UK – there is great demand for hearing dogs all over the UK. The charity needs more funds to increase the number of hearing dogs that can be trained each year with the life-changing service being free to all recipients
Following on from a successful four-year pilot project which saw hearing dogs placed with 12 deaf children, the charity has made the commitment to create further partnerships with deaf children across the country.
Since its inception in 1982, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has placed more than 1,600 hearing dogs and there are currently more than 750 hearing dog partnerships across the UK.
Sue has severe hearing loss. She has had to manage with her disability for most of her life.
However it was 12 years ago, when Sue’s marriage broke down, and she became a single mother that she really struggled to cope with her deafness. She hit rock bottom and worried how she would cope in the future.
She began to rely more on her two young sons, but when they started school Sue became increasingly isolated. She said, “I didn’t have very much confidence, I was missing the doorbell and the telephone, and if the fire alarm went off I wouldn’t have heard that. I was in a silent lonely world of my own.”
18 months ago, the charity paired Sue with Jasmine, a 3-year-old Cocker Spaniel cross. Not only does Jasmine help Sue with everyday household sounds, she’s now very much part of the family. She has boosted Sue’s confidence and helped her to go out and meet people. Sue said, “Jasmine changed my life overnight literally. She is the piece of the puzzle that was missing.”
11-year-old Poppy is part of the charity’s pilot scheme to pair hearing dogs with children. She was diagnosed with severe hearing loss when she was two and a half years old. As the only deaf child at her school, Poppy felt self-conscious when the younger children asked about her disability. She said, “I didn’t like people asking “what’s that in your ear?” and I didn’t know how to answer. I hid my hearing aids.” People also would often speak to her mum and dad, instead of her, making Poppy feel invisible.
Poppy felt especially lonely at night when she would take her hearing aids out. Olivia, her mum, said that she would get up every single night to check that her parents were still there.
In the charity’s new scheme, Poppy was paired with Maddy, a 3-year-old Cocker Spaniel cross. Maddy made an instant impact and Poppy slept through the night straightaway. Poppy said, “It’s very comforting to know she is there and she will just lie there and go to sleep like me.” Maddy has also helped Poppy’s confidence. Poppy said, “I don’t feel that invisible because Maddy says, “hello she is here she can speak you know.” She is really my best friend.”
Ben learning his lines
Ben recording his piece to camera
Filming at the centre
Poppy being filmed
Poppy being filmed
- Ben Fogle
- Gavin Ahern
- Executive Producer
- Gary Hunter