There are few pleasures as universal as dining out with family and friends. Grabbing a pint in the pub with an old friend or going to dinner with loved ones are some of our favourite ways to spend quality time social time with our nearest and dearest. Far from being merely a place to eat and drink, restaurants, cafes and bars are social spaces - social spaces that across the UK we elect to spend our time, and our money.
Deaf women in Uganda were missing out on so much in life that I was inspired to set up the United Deaf Women's Organisation (UDEWO), in 2002. As executive director, I've been working to support and empower women ever since - I want to see a society where we are treated as equals. There were more than 126,000 deaf people in Uganda in 2002, and many of those are women.
Despite hearing loss being acknowledged by the government as a major public health issue - and with its 'Action Plan on Hearing Loss' now in place - there is still an overall perception that hearing loss isn't necessarily that 'serious'. It's often viewed as an inevitable part of ageing, and its links with other serious health conditions are not as widely known as they should be.
As a charity, at Action on Hearing Loss we often talk about the 10 million people in the UK living with a hearing loss. While this is a shockingly large figure - amounting to one in six of us - what we perhaps don't stress enough is that four of those 10 million live with an unaddressed hearing loss.
Imagine if you couldn't get involved in friends' or colleagues' conversations about Games of Thrones, Breaking Bad or W1A? As FOMO (that's Fear Of Missing Out, for anyone over 35 like me) continues to take hold, it's not acceptable for broadcasters to continue cutting one in nine people out of the popular culture of their generation.
According to this week's Budget speech, satisfaction with the NHS is rising year on year. While the NHS can be incredible in a crisis - as I discovered when a close friend, in his early forties, went from complaining of headaches and dizzy spells to, 48 hours later, having lifesaving brain surgery - there are other, unsung services that are facing unprecedented cuts.
Imagine a world where nearly two thirds of children were leaving school without getting good GCSEs. Parents would rightly be furious that their child hadn't got the right support at school. There would be outrage and a clamour for urgent action. But when it comes to deaf children, this is the reality that we face.