Living with Hearing Loss: tablet loan and workshops

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) people are severely affected by Covid-19 because of the lack of accessible information and the impact on communication.

Thanks to the Bristol Join-Up fund and Disability Action’s DPO Covid-19 Emergency Fund we are running a new project to combat the issues faced by Deaf and HoH people during this pandemic.

Centre for Deaf are delivering a series of workshops called Living With Hearing Loss, while also providing the option to loan tablets.

Deaf and HoH people may be more isolated, both in lockdown, and when regulations relax slightly. Interaction with other people is also made harder because of face masks, as these prevent lipreading and muffle sound.

Some Deaf and HoH people have taken to using platforms such as Zoom and Skype and embraced the technology. But many older HoH people are unaware of these technologies and lack confidence in using digital communication. We know 78% of our clients are aged over 65 and tend to be digitally excluded.

If you or anyone that you know of who has been feeling isolated during the lockdown, and would like to take part in Living With Hearing Loss, please get in touch by emailing us at or call 0117 9398653.

How does it work?

  • We’ve used the fund to purchase tablets with built-in 4G to loan to support HoH clients those who already have internet access to use Zoom
  • We will develop and deliver a series of four two-hour virtual workshops on the theme of Living with Hearing Loss in the time of Covid
  • We’re also offering remote assessments of the need for assistive technology and advising on current use

The tablets will be distributed and collected using our existing Covid-safe equipment delivery service. Participants should leave the tablet for 48 hours before opening.

Telephone support will be provided by a freelance IT tutor experienced in working with older people.

About the workshops

The workshops will be delivered over a two-week period, during which the participants will have the tablets to use at home or their own equipment.

Zoom will be pre-loaded onto the tablets with clear, visual instructions, and a video available on the project website. We will offer all participants a ten-minute ‘Zoom-trial’ before the first workshop with content that has already been developed.

The workshops will cover:

  • experience with Zoom and other similar platforms
  • assistive technology to enable independent living and support communication
  • communication tactics in the new normal
  • wellbeing tips from Hard of Hearing people

Communication will be supported by:

  • Presenters who are easy to lipread and who understand the access needs of HoH people
  • Using a speech-to-text operator to produce live captions (automatic captions are too inaccurate to be suitable for a workshop)
  • An ‘eye-break’ half-way through each workshop
  • A ‘communication monitor’ – someone not involved in the discussions but who will observe and intervene if communication barriers arise

Using Zoom and reading captions is demanding and can be particularly exhausting for older people, so the main presentations will be available for participants to watch afterwards to reinforce learning and mitigate the effects of fatigue.

The Presenters

The presenters will include staff from CfD, a local teacher of lipreading, an audiologist/hearing therapist, and HoH people willing to share their Covid-experiences. The majority of presenters will have lived experience of hearing loss.

Questions and discussion will be encouraged and facilitated by the workshop leader.

If you or anyone you know of who have been affected by the isolation caused by the Covid-19 regulations and lockdowns we would love to hear from you. Get in touch by emailing us at

What our clients say about us:

Graphic of two hands using sign language

…I was very satisfied with the service. The two staff were professional and easy to communicate with. They were able to explain everything clearly and quickly gave me the replacement equipment.

graphic of a speech bubble

Two exceptionally pleasant and helpful people – a pleasure to meet and my new doorbell is a great help. Thank you very much.