World Hearing Day: An insight into Newbury’s very own school for deaf children

Mary Hare

Newbury is lucky to home the UK’s largest non-maintained special school for the deaf. Here, we hear from the very people working to secure a future for deaf children and young people in the name of its Founder; Mary Hare.

To explain how Mary Hare Hearing Centre began, we need to go back in history a little.

Mary Hare, born on November 3rd 1865, was one of a family of ten.  Early on she proved herself to be a remarkable woman, establishing a Brighton-based uniformed women’s police force, as well as being an active suffragette.  However, her foremost achievement was as the Founder of an oral school for deaf children, which has now become the UK’s largest non-maintained special school for the deaf. 

Mary Hare’s ethos was that deafness was not a mental disability but rather a sensory impairment that presents the deaf child with additional barriers to learning.  At the time this was quite a unique approach.  To this day, the Mary Hare School continues to fulfil her vision for the auditory/oral education of deaf children.  Mary Hare died in 1945 two days after her 80th birthday.  She wrote in her will, ‘my efforts on behalf of the Deaf have been my greatest joy in life.’

"...my efforts on behalf of the Deaf have been my greatest joy in life."

Miss Hare opened a school for deaf boys and girls in her mother’s house in London in 1883.  She went on to establish Dene Hollow Oral School for the Deaf in 1916 taking pupils from all over the world.  In commemoration of its Founder, the school was renamed the Mary Hare Grammar School on 1st January 1946.  In 1949 Mary Hare School moved to its current home at Arlington Manor, Newbury.  The official opening of the school was held in July 1950 and was performed by HRH The Princess Margaret. 

The school has continued to develop and expand and is now supported by The Mary Hare Foundation established in 1991, which raises much needed funds for future development.  In additional support, Mary Hare School has developed a number of businesses that contribute financially to the school and support of its core focus – the education of deaf children and young people. The mission of Mary Hare school is to secure the future of deaf children and young people.  This is supported by Mary Hare Hearing Centre (MHHC), with 50% of the profits going straight back into the school. 

In 2006, Mary Hare Hearing Centre opened in Weavers Walk in Newbury town centre.

The name Mary Hare is synonymous with Newbury, and a natural home for the Hearing Centre.  Although a lot of clients are local, the Hearing Centre has valued clients who travel across the country to trust in Mary Hare Hearing Centre to deliver their hearing care, testament to the reputation of Mary Hare.

Since MHHC has been open in Weavers Walk, the Newbury Town Centre has seen a number of developments with businesses coming and going – the most prominent of which being the fantastic Parkway Shopping area.  Newbury is unique in that although it embraces development,  it also remains traditional with long standing local businesses operating alongside new names.  Small independent cafes sit alongside high street chains providing something for everyone.  Mary Hare Hearing Centre is a perfect example of a trusted name in the local community operating successfully among high street names.

Hearing health and care is at the heart of Mary Hare Hearing Centre.  We pride ourselves on first class care from the minute you step into the clinic to the extensive aftercare you will receive.  Our knowledgeable clinic staff and audiologists are on hand to support you through the journey of having a hearing test to wearing hearing aids – be that for the first time or moving to a new technology aid.  Aftercare is not an afterthought at Mary Hare Hearing Centre.  Once fitted with hearing aids, the support thereafter is vitally important to ensure a positive experience and continued hearing health – from wax removal to general aid maintenance to a supporting voice on the phone.  The following extracts from an email from one of our valued customers clearly shows the extent to which you will be cared for if you choose Mary Hare Hearing Centre for your hearing care.

While prevention is better than cure, some people get hearing loss while others do not.

You do not need to have experienced hearing loss to have a hearing assessment – very often this is too late.  Using the correct hearing protection for the environment you are subjected to noise in is now better understood and supported and something that our trained staff can assess and advise on. 

Not everyone who could benefit from a hearing device uses one, and those individuals who do receive a hearing device don’t always persist in using them or get the expected benefits. Modern hearing devices, as well as providing advanced technology, now offer the opportunity to collect usage data which in turn, could be used to improve individual management strategies.  At Mary Hare Hearing Centre, we work with every single client closely to give the wider support needed for successful wearing of hearing devices. 

At Mary Hare, we are advancing the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and management of hearing loss while offering continued support and care.

The Hearing Centre can be contacted by telephone on 01635 52334, drop in to say hello at 10 Weavers Walk, Northbrook Street, Newbury RG14 1AL or visit www.maryhareservices.co.uk

A little note from Mary Hare…

If you are not quite ready to purchase new aids but feel your existing ones could do with a little tlc or heaven forbid, you are having problems with your devices and need some repair support, visit the Hearing Aid Repair Shop.  HARS as we like to call it, offers an all make repair service – by mail so you do not have to travel.

Although HARS works closely with the Hearing Centre, they are not directly linked other than both contributing financially to the school with 50% of their profits every year.  So you do not need to have purchased your devices from us to use the Hearing Aid Repair Shop.  We understand how vital to life hearing aids are and when they need a little TLC, how important it is to access somewhere quickly and efficiently. 

You can give the team a call on 01635 48724 or visit www.maryhareservices.co.uk where you find a link to both the Mary Hare Hearing Centre and Hearing Aid Repair Shop.

For a list of all local services and businesses in Newbury town centre and beyond, please click here

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