Check your hearing today urges local MP

October 10, 2006 10:27 AM
RNID - conference

Mark takes the hearing test at party conference

Mark Hunter, MP for Cheadle, took RNID's telephone hearing check at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Brighton last week. Mark has joined over a 1/4 of a million people who have already made the call and pledged his support for the leading charity's 'Breaking the Sound Barrier' Campaign, which aims to change attitudes towards hearing loss and hearing aids.

RNID, the national charity representing the 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, joined forces with UnumProvident, the UK's leading disability insurer, to raise awareness of the importance for people to check their hearing, particularly older people who may be struggling at work. More than 40% of people aged over 50 experience some level of hearing loss, which happens naturally as we get older. RNID and UnumProvident's conference stand showcased the various solutions available to deaf and hard of hearing employees, to help make life easier at work.

Mark Hunter MP said: " Hearing loss can lead to stress and difficulties in communicating, both at work and at home. With an increasingly aging workforce, it is absolutely vital that people in their 50s and 60s get the support they need to remain in work. Calling RNID's telephone hearing check on 0845 600 5555 is a good first step to take to gain a realistic assessment of your hearing. People can then begin to make the necessary adjustments to their lives, so they can continue leading a full professional and social life."

Dr John Low, RNID Chief Executive, says: "Hearing loss can have a profound impact on our lives leaving many of us feeling isolated, yet digital hearing technology can transform lives for the better and reconnect people back into society. I urge those of you that think you might have some level of hearing loss to take RNID's five minute telephone hearing check on 0845 600 5555. If you do find you have a hearing loss many practical changes can be made to your working environment, including using an amplified telephone, or installing loop systems for hearing aid users. These simple solutions will allow you to continue performing at your best and help you become accustomed to your hearing loss."

Joanne Hindle, Corporate Service Director, UnumProvident says: " No employer should underestimate the value disabled and older workers can bring to their businesses. A diverse workforce is a valuable asset to employers and they should strive to make their workplaces fully accessible to all. Employers must embrace the technology available in order to provide an equal playing field in the workplace for people with disabilities."

RNID's 'Breaking the Sound Barrier' campaign aims to reach out to the 4 million people in the UK who are losing their hearing but doing nothing about it. A recent Ipsos MORI survey shows that almost half (46%) of adults in Britain believe that embarrassment about not being able to hear prevents people with hearing difficulties discussing their problem with others, or having a hearing test.

ENDS

For more information please contact

Alan Dalziel, Media Relations Officer, RNID on Tel/textphone 020 7296 8388/8137 or email alan.dalziel@rnid.org.uk

John Hutson, Head of Public Relations, UnumProvident on Tel 01306 873471, mobile 07876 036746 or john.hutson@unumprovident.co.uk

Photo Caption: xxx, MP for xxx, supports RNID's Breaking the Sound Barrier Campaign at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Photo credit: Mousetrap Media

Notes to Editors

RNID

RNID is the national charity changing the world for the UK's 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people. As a membership charity, with the largest UK disability base of over 37,000 members, we aim to achieve a radically better quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people. We do this in the following ways:

• Campaigning and lobbying to change laws and government policies.

• Challenging negative perceptions around deafness and hearing loss.

• Providing information and raising awareness of deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus.

• Training courses and consultancy on deafness and disability.

• Communication services including sign language interpreters.

• Training of interpreters, lipspeakers and speech-to-text operators.

• Seeking lasting change in education for deaf children and young people.

• Employment programmes to help deaf people into work.

• Care services for deaf and hard of hearing people with additional needs.

• Typetalk, the national telephone relay service for deaf and hard of hearing people.

• Equipment and products for deaf and hard of hearing people.

• Social, medical and technical research.

For more information about RNID, or to become a member, visit: www.rnid.org.uk or contact RNID's Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone) or 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email: informationline@rnid.org.uk

UnumProvident

UnumProvident is the UK's leading provider of group income protection insurance, with over 30 years of experience. Our critical illness and life insurance products enable our customers to purchase complementary protection solutions that together make a comprehensive protection package.

Our income protection customers benefit from our expertise in the specialist areas of disability, rehabilitation and return-to-work. We enable individuals to protect their incomes, ensuring their financial security if they are unable to work because of illness or injury. For employers, we safeguard one of their most valuable resources by helping employees return to work following long-term absence.

At the end of 2004, UnumProvident protected over 2.1 million lives through more than 19,800 schemes. During 2004 we paid total benefit claims of over GBP 249 million - of which more than GBP 177 million related to income protection claims.

For more information visit: www.unumprovident.co.uk

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