People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and experiencing difficulty during the public health emergency are being urged to contact Chime for support.
The National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss points out that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of social isolation and warned that the almost 300,000 people in Ireland who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are especially vulnerable during this period.
This is due to restrictions on social gatherings and the lack of accessible news updates about the virus.
Commenting yesterday, CEO of Chime Mark Byrne said: “The COVID-19 virus presents a particular set of challenges for people who are impacted by deafness or hearings loss.
“Chime is responding by providing a range of online supports to help people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing during this public health emergency.”
He said that the coronavirus pandemic has created considerable uncertainty for everyone, but this is compounded for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Mr Byrne explained: Even tasks like contacting the doctor to arrange a COVID-19 test or contacting a utility company, banks or social welfare offices are especially difficult due to lack of accessible pathways to engage with these services. Therefore, Chime is here to help.
“I would encourage anyone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing and experiencing difficulty during this challenging time, to make contact with us and we will do our best to provide support.
“From Monday, 30th March our team will be providing two new online services. We will provide daily ‘Facebook Live’ updates on our Facebook page and support on a wide range of topics, including sessions provided in Irish Sign Language.
“The schedule is available on our website. We are also working to improve remote access to our services by providing one-to-one appointments with our social work team, audiologists and community resource officers.
“Our dedicated team will continue to provide advice & support through voice calls, text, video calls and through face-to-face appointments when necessary to anyone impacted by deafness or hearing loss.
“I want everyone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing to know Chime is here to help during this challenging time.”