Ben Fogle has been appointed an official Patron of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. The charity, co-founded by his father Dr Bruce Fogle 35 years ago, has transformed the lives of thousands of deaf people in the UK. They are campaigning to champion the hearing-dog heroes, who improve the wellbeing of deaf people.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK’s national Deaf Awareness Week (15th-21st May). The dog-loving adventurer and TV presenter launches the charity’s ‘Deafness doesn’t have to be lonely’ campaign, highlighting the enormously positive impact that hearing dogs have on the wellbeing of their deaf recipients, meaning deafness isn’t such a lonely experience.

  • 95% of hearing dog recipients have more confidence                           
  • 92% of hearing dog recipientsfeel more secure  
  • 92% of hearing dog recipients better able to make new friends            
  • 89% of hearing dog recipients feel more approachable*

Perhaps no other form of hearing loss assistance has such a combined profound effect on a severely or profoundly deaf person’s life; from alerting to important sounds and danger signals that can’t be heard, such as the smoke alarm, burglar alarm, doorbell and alarm clock providing invaluable companionship and being an important visual indicator of an otherwise invisible disability.

“Loneliness and isolation can be driven by embarrassment, low self-confidence and esteem."

A hearing dog offers loving, sensitive and loyal assistance, creating the kind of life-enriching partnership not possible from just tecnology; reducing loneliness, isolation, anxiety and stress whilst restoring independence, confidence, self-esteem and most importantly a sense of improved wellbeing.

Ben Fogle describes how he has “grown up as part of the Hearing Dogs family. So for me to now take on this official role for the Charity my father cofounded is a huge honour.

"I’ve seen at first-hand how devastating the effects of deafness can be."

“Loneliness and isolation, sometimes driven by embarrassment, lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, can really reduce the quality of life for many deaf people who are left feeling cut off from the world, school, work, friends and family – and can often become quite depressed.

“I’ve met and spoken with many recipients who have told me their hearing dog has quite literally given them their life back; their independence, self-confidence and self-esteem restored and once again happy and enjoying life in a way they never thought possible. And that’s all thanks to these very special little canine hearing dog heroes who have taken away the loneliness of deafness and replaced it with a friendship beyond measure.”

 

Buckinghamshire-based Hearing Dogs is recognised as a world-leader in breeding and training a variety of different types of special clever canine heroes to be hearing dogs including spaniels, poodles and Labradors as well as breeding their own ‘cocker-poos’.

The special ‘hearing dog’ jackets worn by hearing dogs in public let people know about their recipient’s disability, helping to significantly increase confidence when facing the outside world. This can help turn deafness into a more positive experience, as many recipients feel incredibly proud to have a hearing dog by their side. As a result, deaf people can often overcome their disability to an extent where they can return to education or the workplace.

Hearing Dogs Chief Executive, Michele Jennings says “We are hugely grateful to Ben Fogle for continuing the legacy of his father in such an official capacity as we focus on the future. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the Charity and I hope that Ben’s support will help us to achieve our vision of increasing the number of hearing dogs we place to achieve 200 new partnerships a year in 2020 to help meet the growing demand for our service."

*Source: Hearing Dogs recipient survey 2012

Learn more:

There are currently nearly 1,000 hearing dogs transforming the lives of their deaf recipients in the UK. To find out more visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk, email info@hearingdogs.org.uk or call 01844 348100.
Follow the Charity on social media @HearingDogs