Inspirational women in line for top award

Sandra Deeming and Susanne Rees with hearing aid audiologist Richard Shinnick at the Specsaver store, Kettering. They are regional finalists in the Specsavers Sound Barrier Awards 2012
Sandra Deeming and Susanne Rees with hearing aid audiologist Richard Shinnick at the Specsaver store, Kettering. They are regional finalists in the Specsavers Sound Barrier Awards 2012

Two women with hearing difficulties are one step closer to winning a national award, after their stories of achievement were chosen as the most inspirational in the region.

Sandra Deeming from Corby and Susanne Rees of Kettering are finalists in the Sound Barrier Star Awards competition, run by Specsavers hearing centres in association with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Five of the 10 regional finalists will go forward to the grand final in London to compete for the title of Sound Barrier Star of 2012, on August 21.

Sandra, 49, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and I can’t believe that I have been chosen as one of the finalists. I hope that I get to go to London and maybe even be awarded the title of Sound Barrier Star 2012.”

Sandra, who began experiencing hearing loss in her early 20s, was unable to have an operation due to the risks involved. However, she doesn’t let it be a barrier in her everyday life and volunteers for Angel Bear which distributes hand-knitted teddies to children in crisis, including those suffering with hearing loss.

Susanne, 27, said: “It’s a privilege to be recognised for my achievements and to be nominated for such a fantastic award is an amazing opportunity.”

Susanne formed a Sign Language Society at her local university and also started a non-profit making business in order to benefit other disabled people.

She is also a member of the charity Deaf Unity, which aims to improve the quality of life of deaf people in the UK and worldwide.

Dancing on Ice star and Dallas actress Charlene Tilton, who spoke out in February about her long-term battle with hearing loss, has teamed up with Specsavers Hearing Centres and charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to front the awards and find a star for 2012.

Charlene, 52, said: “I’d like to congratulate Sandra and Susanne on getting this far in the competition and wish them the best of luck in the remaining stages.”

Specsavers has donated £5 to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People for every entry into the Sound Barrier Star Awards. Hearing dogs help transform the lives of their deaf owners by alerting them to sounds that those with good hearing take for granted.

Charlene will host the grand final at the Savile Club, London, on Tuesday, August 21. The winner will receive a luxury holiday, courtesy of Mark Warner, and £1,500 in vouchers from Specsavers.