Earlier this year, Elders and Overseers in our Area Meeting met to consider whether Friends in our meetings might be lonely; if so, why that might be, and what we could do about it. One possibility, we thought, was that hard-of-hearing Friends are (inadvertently) excluded if Friends don’t speak clearly, or we meet in spaces with poor audibility.
Alan Pleydell of Bradford on Avon LM is taking this insight further, organising a workshop on Sunday 4th August at Bradford on Avon Friends Meeting House 1a Whiteheads Lane, Bradford on Avon BA15 1JU.
It will run 1330-1530 and all are welcome then or for Meeting for Worship first (1030 start). If you do that you might wish to bring a picnic lunch.
Alan writes: Do please come if you feel you feel you have anything to learn or contribute about this important aspect of how people become isolated and what we can do about it. The workshop will be fully participatory and interactive, drawing on the thoughts and experience of all who come. The themes will include:
- Exploration by Friends with hearing difficulties and those without them (e.g. you may have friends or relatives who suffer) of the variety of their experiences of hearing loss and its different types and levels of severity.
- Looking at the impact hearing loss has had and continues to have on peoples’ lives, particularly in terms of loneliness and exclusion.
- Exploring physical aspects of hearing loss and useful tips for making the best of available technology, NHS and/or private, both individual (hearing aids, remote microphones, etc.) and loop systems, to alleviate the experience of exclusion and loneliness.
- Examining the individual emotional/psychological impact of hearing loss both for the immediate sufferer and those around them.
- Looking at the wider social dimensions of hearing loss.
- Considering the various strategies, physical, spatial and social, adopted both by those with hearing loss and those without it to help alleviate the loneliness and isolation that too often result from lack of awareness of their extent – bearing in mind that technology on its own is rarely (if ever) a full solution.
- Thinking about what more individuals and Meetings can do to help improve general awareness of the various difficulties and strategies and to keep refreshing their awareness of them.
- Thinking about how both those with hearing loss and those without can take fuller responsibility for helping one another – in our Meetings and beyond.
The world’s first concert for aural diversity was held locally last month, including wooden boxes that offer “haptic feedback” to convey the performance via touch. More here