"Everything changed when Aspen arrived in my life"

Posted by Matt Sadler

Linda (73) lost her hearing many years ago when she was 48. A consultation with an audiologist confirmed she had a condition called Otosclerosis, whereby the small bones in the ear begin to fuse preventing sounds from being transmitted.

Last year, Linda was partnered with a sound support dog named Aspen and since then she says her life has been transformed.

Sound support dogs are trained to alert their partner to important and potentially lifesaving sounds around the home, but not out and about in public.

Aspen helps Linda to overcome the daily challenges of hearing loss, that had drained her confidence and made her feel isolated and lonely.

Linda recalls what her life was like before being partnered with Aspen:

“Before I got Aspen, I found it difficult to socialise with people. I no longer felt confident, as I would mishear what people said. I noticed that people would get annoyed if I had to say: ‘Pardon?’ more than once. The reply would be: ‘Oh, never mind, it doesn’t matter,’…but it did matter to me.

“I discovered that deaf people don’t have the same opportunities as a hearing person. Simple things like speaking to the cashier in the bank would prove to be stressful as I couldn’t hear them.

“Then in May 2022 Aspen, my sound support dog, arrived in my life, and everything changed. From the first day I felt more secure and safe just knowing he is there to help me.

“He gave me back my confidence, and he gives me a reason to smile every day. It is so lovely to be woken up by Aspen pawing at me gently when the alarm goes off.

“He also alerts me to the cooker timer – so no more burnt food – the doorbell, my phone, the fridge – which makes a whistling sound if the door is left open – and the smoke alarm.

“When the smoke alarm goes off Aspen will nudge me or, if I’m asleep, jump gently onto the bed to wake me up, and when I say: ‘What is it?’ he will then drop flat to the floor to signal danger. Knowing Aspen will waken me in the night if there’s a fire is the most comforting of all.

“I’m always out and about now and Aspen loves his walks in the park and visits to the garden centre and other dog-friendly places. We meet people there and chat about Aspen; they are fascinated when they hear about him and how he alerts me to sounds.

“There are so many ways that Aspen has changed my life but none of this would have been possible without the wonderful Hearing Dogs charity and their volunteers. I will be eternally grateful. A great big: ‘Thank you’ to them all!”

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About the author

blog hearing dogs

Hi everyone, I'm Matt and I look after the Charity's social media, blog and e-newsletter.

I spend a lot of my day talking about our hearing dog superstars - it's a hard life!

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