Partnership of the Month June 2018
Posted by Sarah O'Brien
Tim Stanley, from Teignmouth in Devon, knows first-hand how difficult being deaf can be. Tim was born partially deaf and his hearing worsened over time until it deteriorated rapidly when he was around 40 years old.
One of the biggest problems Tim has faced has been his struggle to make and maintain new friendships, which led to feelings of isolation.
His deafness could even have been life threatening – he was once visiting a factory as an auditor when a severe fire broke out and Tim, who was in a small room on his own at the time and could not hear the alarm, only realised when a fireman tapped him on the shoulder.
Tim is now partnered with the lovely Micky, a Miniature Poodle hearing dog who is having a tremendous impact on his life.
“I was born deaf and it deteriorated over the years until l was about forty, and then went almost completely.
“Being deaf has affected my social life, I probably didn’t have such a wide a circle of friends as I would have liked to have. It’s sometimes hard for people to relate to a deaf person.
“From the professional point of view, I grew into a job but it’s still quite hard at times to deal with clients and various other matters. Having to deal with clients if they didn’t know I was deaf can be difficult. Sometimes I would have to travel around for work and stay away from home in a hotel by myself, and that could be quite challenging. I would miss having a companion and felt very vulnerable and alone.
“I think it is difficult to open up to people and to admit to having a disability such as deafness, and this can lead to difficulties at times because people tend to think that you are either stand-offish or ignoring them.
“Having my hearing dog Mickey has made a big impact on my life. In the first instance, having Mickey in his distinctive Hearing Dogs jacket tells people that I’m deaf and I’m not just ignoring them. Or if they are not in the direct eye line with them that I don’t hear them when they talk.
“Secondly, it’s certainly attracts a lot of people who are interested in Mickey and what he does for me, so you tend to talk to strangers when you wouldn’t have talked to them in the past. I don’t feel so isolated from the world now I have Mickey by my side.
“The alerting of sounds is also very important. Mickey tells me if there’s somebody at the door, or if an alarm is going off.
“Many years ago, I was working out on audit in a big factory. I was in the room completely by myself and there was a severe fire at the factory, all the alarms went off and of course I didn’t hear them. As I was not a regular member of staff, nobody thought about me stuck up in this office. And the first thing I knew about this fire was when a fireman tapped me on the shoulder. Now of course with Mickey, that wouldn’t happen. And that is a great relief to me.
Mickey is a wonderful companion and has made a huge difference to my life, my confidence and my general wellbeing. I wouldn’t be without him now. I’m very grateful to Hearing Dogs, and of course the people who sponsored Mickey through his training. Thank you.
Watch Tim speak about his deafness to Chris Packham
During our first two episodes of Hearing Dogs TV, Chris Packham and Tim - along with hearing dog Mickey - opened up about their experience of deafness and hearing loss.
Watch the episode here.
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