Bringing together families who have a child with ‘magic ears’

2nd May 2019

When your world is silent, or sounds are muffled, it’s easy to become isolated and introverted.

One Cumbrian charity has worked tirelessly for 125 years to help people who are hearing impaired to live a full life.

Cumbria Deaf Association has provided vital services since 1894, and it has received more than £93,000 from Cumbria Community Foundation.

These grants make a huge difference to people like Luke and his family. When he was just four months old, Luke lost his hearing through meningitis. By the time he was nine months old, he had cochlear implants for both ears. Cumbria Deaf Association has provided advice and support to the family for the past eight years.

Luke’s mum said: “Over the years, Cumbria Deaf Association has been there to help and support our whole family in a variety of ways. Having access to people who understand has been invaluable to us on our journey. Though the variety of workshops, days out, events, social days, parties and residential weekends, we’ve all made many friends and have lots of happy memories.”

“The residential at Bendrigg outdoor centre is a wonderful event that we’ve been lucky enough to attend twice. Luke has been able to challenge himself and safely do activities he would not normally have access to, like climbing, canoeing and caving to mention a few. It’s a fun-filled weekend that gives so much more than the activities. It allows him to spend time with other deaf children, this has helped greatly with his own self-esteem and his understanding that he is not the only deaf child. Living in a rural area, we rarely see others with ‘magic ears’ like Luke. His other brothers get to spend time with other children and talk about things like having a deaf sibling and my husband and I get to share our experiences with other parents and carers.”

Cumbria Deaf Association has had grants from the #iwill Fund and Edmond Castle Fund to support the residential breaks. Families with young deaf children can often feel isolated due to the rural nature of Cumbria and may also be the only family who have a deaf child in their school. Getting them together reduces this isolation and helps families feel supported.

Ian Wilson, Appeal Director, said: “We are celebrating our 125th year and we look forward to many more years of collaboration with Cumbria Community Foundation.”

There’s around 450 deaf people in Cumbria and more than 40,000 with a hearing impairment. Four in ten people aged over-50 are affected, rising to seven in ten by the age of 70. And for that silent majority, the world can become a lonely place.

Formerly known as DeafVision, Cumbria Deaf Association provides a wide range of specialist services such as community and social activities and events, interpreting, social work, care and support packages, British Sign Language skills courses, and deaf awareness training. It also helps deaf people and their families living in Cumbria to achieve educational, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing.