Deaf charity appeals for more volunteers after sharp increase in demand for hearing dogs

Video report by Joshua Stokes

A charity for deaf people has said they have had a sharp increase in demand for its services, following the Covid-19 pandemic.

'Hearing Dogs for Deaf People' say it urgently needs more volunteers to come forward to train puppies to help those with hearing loss.

Volunteers are allocated a puppy and are required to train them by taking them to supermarkets, restaurants, shops and public transport.

That training then gives the dog the confidence to accompany a deaf person as an accredited assistance dog.

Hearing dogs are trained by volunteers in mock settings before being matched with their new owner. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

What is a 'hearing dog'?

  • Hearing dogs are a type of assistance dog which is given to people who may not be able to hear certain or any sounds.

  • The dogs can alert their owners of doorbells, fire alarms, oven timers and other everyday sounds.

  • They make physical contact with their owners by nudging them or touching them with their paw to get their attention.

Hearing dogs are a type of assistance dog trained to alert their owners of sounds they may not be able to hear. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Christine Wright has been living with hearing dogs for more than 20 years and describes her current dog 'Jessie' as her 'confidence and best friend'.

She said: "Jessie alerts me to sounds I can't hear. Being deaf is very isolating and causes depression and anxiety".

"She is my confidence and emotional support as well."

Christine Wright has been living with hearing dogs for over 20 years. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The waiting list for a hearing dog in the North West has increased to two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figure has caused some concern for the charity, who are dealing with an increased demand for dogs.

Michelle Taylor is a senior puppy training instructor and said: "Currently we are looking to recruit more volunteer puppy trainers across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and North Staffordshire to take on more of our pups".

She continued: "The dogs make an incredible difference to the deaf partners. They really help people leave loneliness behind and help them build their confidence."

More information on how to sign up to be a volunteer can be found here.

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