Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Don't Delay - Check Your Hearing Today Urges Stephen Williams MP

11.33.11am BST (GMT +0100) Mon 25th Sep 2006

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, supports RNID’s Breaking the Sound Barrier Campaign at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Brighton. (photography: Tim Pollard)

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, supports RNID’s Breaking the Sound Barrier Campaign at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Brighton.

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, took RNID's telephone hearing check at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Brighton. Stephen Williams 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 in the work environment. 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 stand at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference showcased the various solutions available to deaf and hard of hearing employees, to help make life easier at work.

Stephen Williams 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 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 and struggling to cope, 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 . 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 to help hearing aid users. These simple solutions will allow you to continue performing at your best and help you cope with 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. If we are to derive maximum benefit from that talent pool, as well as using all the simple technologies that are readily available, it will be necessary to change the adverse stereotypical attitudes that many employers, and employees, have towards disability and ill-health in the workplace."

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 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.

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