A team of Audiology Hearing Aid Support Volunteers have received an award for giving their time to help patients across North Wales.

The team received the ‘Outstanding Voluntary Contribution’ Award, sponsored by Castell Howell Foods, at this year’s Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Achievement Awards.

The volunteer service is available to all adults with NHS hearing aids in North Wales, and is supported by the Audiology Department but run by volunteers. This service adds value to the Audiology Service by providing peer support and practical support.

The volunteers have set up regular drop in clinics for patients in their local communities.  These clinics are now available in over 30 locations across North Wales.

The drop in service enables volunteers to support patients with retubing of earmoulds, minor hearing aid servicing, battery replacement and cleaning of earmoulds.  In addition to this volunteers provide support for individuals, carers and families in hearing aid maintenance and use, support in coping with hearing difficulties, tips on useful communication strategies and signposting to other services as needed.

The volunteers also visit people who are unable to reach the clinics in their own homes for the regular hearing aid maintenance, and are also involved in supporting hearing aid patients in care homes.

Susannah Goggins, Principal Clinical Scientist at BCUHB’s Audiology department, who nominated the volunteers for the award said: “On average the volunteers see 226 patients at drop in community sessions per month across North Wales and carry out 53 visits per month in people’s homes.

“They bring such enthusiasm to the role, sharing their experiences of hearing loss and how they overcome challenges.  As a result, those in North Wales with NHS hearing aids benefit from the lived experiences of others, boosting confidence, increasing independence and improving quality of life for them and those around them.”

The awards, sponsored by Centreprise International, celebrate the outstanding achievements of NHS staff from across North Wales.

Jeremy Nash, Chief Executive of Centerprise International, said: “It was a privilege to be the headline sponsor at the Health Board’s Achievement Awards for the third year running. The Awards served as an excellent opportunity to recognise all of the amazing people working within the NHS across North Wales.

“Centerprise is committed to supporting the Welsh community and NHS in equal measure.  We were delighted to be represented at the Awards, which was a wonderful celebration of the incredible efforts of the Health Board and its committed staff.”

Natalie Aitken, who presented the award on behalf of sponsor Castell Howell Foods, said: “The efforts of the Audiology Volunteers to support people with hearing difficulties in North Wales was really inspiring.

“All three finalists can be really proud of their efforts to support the NHS in North Wales, and we were delighted to be able to celebrate their achievements at the Health Board’s awards.”

CAPTION: The team of Audiology Hearing Aid Support Volunteers who received the ‘Outstanding Voluntary Contribution’ Award, sponsored by Castell Howell Foods, at this year’s Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Achievement Awards.