Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

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“It’s the immediacy of transforming someone’s life that appeals to me.”

Tom has volunteered at RNID Near You in Northern Ireland for 2 years, supporting people with hearing aid maintenance. Here he shares what it is about volunteering for RNID that has meaning for him.

“I’m Tom, a member of my local church for nearly 20 years and sometimes the Accredited Preacher when our Minister is foolish enough to go on holiday and leaves me in charge of the service! And I’m also a volunteer with RNID. 

Volunteering with RNID

I’ve been a volunteer for a couple of years now, and the fact that I’m completely deaf in one ear and wear a hearing aid in the other played a central role in making that decision – though there are plenty of RNID volunteers that have full hearing. 

My main volunteering role is in hearing aid maintenance. That includes cleaning or replacing the tubes in NHS hearing aids, providing advice to help people get the best from their hearing aids – including using loop systems in church buildings and other places – and undertaking minor repairs. 

Why I love what I do

I have to say that it’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Why is that? I often tell the story of visiting a very elderly lady in a care home whose hearing aids weren’t working at all. Her closest relative told me that she had become very withdrawn over a number of weeks, and didn’t communicate well with the care home staff or visitors.

I went to see her thanks to her being referred to RNID, and after undertaking some minor work on her hearing aids I handed them back to her. When she put the first one into her ear and I spoke to her, she immediately began to smile broadly and started talking to both me and her relative. Indeed, we couldn’t get her to stop!  

It’s the immediacy of literally transforming someone’s life in an instant that appeals to me so much about my volunteering with RNID. I can – and do on a regular basis – make people who previously could hear very little, hear clearly once again. That’s one of the most joyful experiences I have ever had. In that way, I regard my volunteering with RNID as an integral and essential part of my Christian service for others. 

Why what I do matters

If I had a pound for everyone who has said to me, “I can’t hear anything in church” even though they wear hearing aids, I think I might be able to go on a decent holiday!  

I just wonder how many people have ceased worshipping in our churches simply because they can’t hear what’s being said. At least 1 in 5 adults are deaf or have hearing loss. Just think about how many people in your congregation or community that might include. Certainly, in our church, there are a significant number of people that wear hearing aids, and probably some that don’t but would benefit so much from them.  

RNID can assist in so many ways by providing advice, information, and practical help. It might even be something as simple as directing those who use hearing aids to the nearest RNID support session in their area, where they can have their hearing aids checked over to make sure they are in the best condition they can be. 

Finally, if anything in my story has whetted your appetite, perhaps to get involved in this type of volunteering, have a look at the current opportunities available!”

Two people smiling and talking at an event

Volunteer with RNID

Volunteer with us and make a valuable difference to people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. Any contribution you make, no matter how small, can have a big impact.
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