AN Omagh woman who has dedicated years of her life to supporting people with deafness, tinnitus, and hearing loss has been presented with a highly prestigious award.
Action on Hearing Loss volunteer, Lorna Collins was presented with the charity’s special ‘People’s Champion’ award at a glittering ceremony held at City Hall in Belfast on Monday, June 3.
Lorna has volunteered for the charity for more than eight years, supporting local hearing aid user support sessions in Omagh and Newtownstewart, funded by the Health and Social Care Board, and conducting home visits.
At the sessions, NHS hearing aid users are provided with new batteries, ear mould retubing and information about how to make the most of their hearing aids.
Lorna also runs an Action on Hearing Loss information stand at the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex on the first Tuesday of every month, as well as other information stands in shopping centres, libraries and at health fairs.
Lorna, who has worn a hearing aid since her late teens, said that it means the world to her to ‘share her knowledge, and give back to the local community’.
“I love volunteering with Action on Hearing Loss, and I get great satisfaction out of helping clients to understand and care for their hearing aids,” she said.
“Being a hearing aid user myself, I am totally aware of the challenges people with hearing loss face. I am also aware of the many hearing devices available in the home which can improve people’s daily lives such as loop systems, telephone amplifiers and smoke alarm buzzers.”
Geraldine Keys, information officer at Action on Hearing Loss, said Lorna is invaluable to the charity, and is truly deserving of winning the award.
“Lorna is incredibly reliable and committed and she gives great encouragement to everyone she meets,” Geraldine said.
“Service users constantly sing her praises – at times she has even given batteries from her own hearing aids away rather than see people go without!
“For every reason someone gives her about why they don’t or won’t wear their hearing aid or seek help, she will give them a reason why they should based on her own personal experience.”