A north-east police volunteer has shared his experience of living with hearing loss.
Today is National Hearing Loss Day and Dylan Henderson, a senior youth volunteer with the North East Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) has told of what it was like growing up hearing loss,.
He has also shared advice for others in a similar situation.
Dylan said: “When I was 3 years old I was diagnosed as having glue ear. I had grommets inserted and ended up having 4 sets by the age of 7. It was then the ENT Consultant realised I actually had mild hearing loss and needed to be fitted with hearing aids.
“At the beginning, this was really difficult for me to accept and it took a long time before I was confident enough to wear my hearing aids. As I grew older my hearing loss has worsened and at 17 years old, I now have moderate hearing loss and face further hearing loss in the future.
“My hearing loss has affected my life in many ways but mostly when I was at school. I fell behind through not hearing in class and not being able to follow and understand instructions.
“I found it hard to mix with my peers as my hearing loss affected my speech and I was continually bullied. I would be called all sorts of horrible things, kids would steal my school bag and threaten me.
“It was hard to be accepted and the stigma attached to my hearing loss made it hard for me to make friends.
“I am very lucky to have found PSYV, it has made me feel included, built up my confidence, and most importantly helped me make friends.
My advice to people who are dealing with what I had to is, you’re not alone, speak to a trusted person. It is not ok to face hate as a result of your disability, forget the haters and focus on what makes you happy.’
DC James Dainton, an Adult volunteer for the North East PSYV and who was recently recognised as part of the Chief Constables awards for his contribution to Equality and Diversity between the Deaf community and Police Scotland added: “Disability or difference should not be a barrier to our service and I encourage all those interested in PSYV to contact us and take part.
“I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the importance of the issues deaf people can face and if they are targeted as a result of this, then this may be considered a hate crime and should be reported. We will do all we can to ensure those responsible are brought to justice”.