A former Welsh Guardsman has called on veterans with hearing loss to get support from a new service run by charity Action on Hearing Loss Cymru.

Steve Liversage, a 27 year veteran of the Welsh Guards, lost his hearing due to exposure to gunfire which also led to tinnitus – a loud and persistent ringing in his ears.

Steve said: “People don’t realise how hard it can be to lose your hearing. It makes it very hard to have a conversation and it really knocks your confidence having to ask someone to repeat themselves over and over again. This made me feel very lonely.”

The Aged Veterans Project is funded through the Ministry of Defence’s Aged Veterans Fund and has been launched to support veterans across Wales born before 1950 who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

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The free service offers information and support in the community and in people’s homes, providing basic hearing checks, trials of equipment and support before and after hearing aids have been fitted.

Rebecca Woolley, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru said “Deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus can be incredibly isolating and can lead to mental health problems and depression. Research shows that retired soldiers are more than three times more likely to experience hearing loss than the general population, often due to repeated exposure to small arms fire, artillery, engines and explosives. This new service will help veterans across Wales get support.

Armed Forces Champion, Cllr David Griffiths, encouraged veterans to get in touch, he said “there must be many veterans in Wrexham who are suffering with hearing loss, tinnitus or similar and as a consequence are becoming more and more isolated. I encourage either them or their families to get in touch to see just how much help there is available to improve their quality of life. We have worked with Action for Hearing Loss and we are very proud to have been awarded their Louder than Words Charter Mark for improving our services for people with hearing loss.”

Signs that indicate hearing loss include:

  • Asking for things to be repeated or responding incorrectly in conversations
  • Not hearing the doorbell or phone
  • turning up the TV and/or being asked to turn it down
  • Not joining in group conversations as much as before, nor not going out to the pub or other gatherings as often
  • Starting to feel isolated, lacking in motivation or feeling depressed.

If this sounds like you or someone you know staff at the project would love to be able to help.

For more information or to arrange a visit please ring 02920 333 034, textphone 02920 333 036 or emai:

North Wales – nicky.darton@hearingloss.org.uk

South Wales – darren.white@hearingloss.org.uk

Or you can write to the Aged Veterans Project at Anchor Court North, Keen Road, Cardiff, CF24 5JW

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