Bi-lateral Cochlear Implant Scheme to Benefit Deaf Children

James Reilly, Minister for Health recently announced that bi-lateral cochlear implants would be made available in the new HSE Service Plan 2014.

The Government is introducing a new bilateral cochlear implant service from 2014, to benefit children awaiting a second implant and simultaneous implantation for those who are born profoundly deaf from now. His health-service plan for 2014 listed €3.22 million to develop services for bilateral cochlear implants at the national cochlear implant centre in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

Deanna Cairns of the Happy New Ear campaign said recently:

“The programme will take time to set up but it is envisaged that the first simultaneous cochlear implant surgery, where they implant both ears at the same time, will take place in May, and the first sequential implant surgery, where the recipient already has an implant, will commence in August. We have been helped along the way by so many people- TDs, journalists, parents and well wishers and we would like to thank them all for their support throughout the campaign.”

Campaigner Deanna’s son Billy has one cochlear implant and is on the waiting list for a second implant.

Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE, said that around 100 children will benefit from the funding, with 50 sequential and 50 simultaneous cochlear implants to be fitted in 2014.

They are hopeful that from next year, the number of surgeries will be increased. There are thought to be around 200 children in need of a second cochlear implant at the moment.

Free hearing tests are available to all at any of Hidden Hearing 65 clinics nationwide, for more information freephone 18 00 37 00 00 or our website


New study findings: Hearing impairment ‘shrinks brain faster’

BrainWe know that as we age our brain becomes smaller but the results of a recent study from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland now suggests that older adults who suffer from hearing loss are more likely to experience a higher level of brain shrinkage at a faster rate.

For the study, Dr. Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues analyzed 126 participants aged between 56 and 86 years for up to a 10-year period. The study participants underwent yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for their brain changes to be tracked plus physical examinations, including hearing tests. At this point, 71 participants had normal hearing, while 51 had impaired hearing with a minimum loss of 25 decibels. The participants with impaired hearing also lost at least an extra cubic centimeter more of brain tissue every year, compared with those who had normal hearing.

Address hearing loss ‘sooner rather than later’

Dr.Lin says it is not surprising that these particular brain structures were affected. He explains that because people with hearing loss tend to use speech and sound less, brain structures linked to these processes are more likely to shrink due to lack of stimulation.

He also says their findings emphasize the importance of treating hearing loss as early as possible, adding: “Our results suggest that hearing loss could be another ‘hit’ on the brain in many ways.If you want to address hearing loss well, you want to do it sooner rather than later. If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we’re seeing on MRI, you want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place.” Dr. Lin and his colleagues say they plan to eventually examine whether treating hearing loss early can reduce the risk of associated health problems.

You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 882884 or visit


Gay Byrne Podcast

In a clip from ‘Sunday with Gay Byrne’ on RTE, Gay talks about becoming hard of hearing. Once his own hearing started to become defective he sought help with Hidden Hearing. Gay Byrne also became ambassador for Hidden Hearing’s Hearing Awareness Week.


Gay Byrne and Dr Nina during Hearing Awareness Week

Listen to the full podcast here.

Gay Byrne and Dr Nina during Hearing Awareness Week

Gay Byrne and Dr Nina during Hearing Awareness Week

Hidden Hearing Celebrates 10 Years of Hearing Healthcare in Coleraine

Hidden Hearing, Northern Ireland’s premier hearing healthcare provider celebrated its 10th birthday in Coleraine this January.  Since it opened the branch at 51 New Row, Coleraine it has been offering customers the best professional hearing care, help and advice. 

To mark the occasion and to promote better hearing health, Hidden Hearing is offering free one-to-one hearing assessments.  The modern test facilities at are staffed with highly qualified audiologists and offer the latest digital technology to diagnose and treat hearing problems in a supportive environment.Image

Andrew McPherson, Audiologist, at the Coleraine Hidden Hearing branch said: ‘We’re delighted to be celebrating 10 successful years at the branch and have remained committed to improving hearing healthcare in Coleraine since we opened our doors.  To mark this milestone we’re providing free hearing consultations for anybody who is in need of assistance.  We take pride in offering world-class hearing healthcare services and life-long support for our patients and encourage anyone who is experiencing problems with their hearing to take action as soon as they notice a problem.  Over the years, technological advancements have seen hearing aids get significantly smaller so while people tend to notice hearing loss they don’t notice hearing aids.’ 

Hidden Hearing is the only hearing healthcare provider in Northern Ireland to offer customers free no obligation hearing screenings, free wax removal, a 90 day money back guarantee, a five year warranty and free batteries and service for life.

Visit the Hidden Hearing branch at 51 New Row, Coleraine, BT52 1EJ or call 028 – 7032 0301 to make an appointment for a free one-to-one hearing consultation with a qualified audiologist.

The Links Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

There are many associations between hearing loss and dementia. GP’s will need to test for hearing loss in a patient presenting for possible dementia as a loss of hearing needs to be eliminated before testing for other causes of confusion.

A study by Frank Lin, M.D., PhD* in 2011 of 639 individuals who underwent audiometric testing and were dementia free in 1990 to 1994 was conducted (approximately one quarter had some level of hearing loss). The subjects were closely measured year on year and 58 cases of incident all-cause dementia were diagnosed in 2008. The conclusions of the study were that hearing loss is independently associated with incident all-cause dementia which increased linearly with the severity of baseline hearing loss. The researchers found that volunteers with hearing loss at the start of the research were significantly more likely to develop dementia by the end of the study.

“A lot of people ignore hearing loss because it’s such a slow and insidious process as we age, even if people feel as if they are not affected, we’re showing that it may well be a more serious problem.” says Mr Lin, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Lin said in a later study that only 15 percent of those who need a hearing aid get one, which he feels, leaves much of the problem and its ramifications untreated.**

Regardless of age, it’s vitally important to get your hearing checked regularly. Hidden Hearing offer free hearing health checks to all with absolutely no obligation simple click on this link to apply for your free hearing test.




7 Steps to Better Hearing

Patient quality of care is of fundamental importance to Hidden Hearing. Our Audiologists carry out a comprehensive hearing assessment completing the following important seven steps when prescribing any of our invisible hearing aids.

  • Step 1, our Audiologists carry out a full case history which includes a brief medical history.
  • Step 2, an Otoscopy is performed to BSA standards and reveals the condition of the outer ear canal and the tympanic membrane. Tuning fork tests can give an indication whether the loss is conductive, sensorineural, or unilateral.
  • Step 3 is Sound Field Testing. This test gives us statistical information on the ability to hear words reproduced both in quiet and in noisy environments.
  • Step 4 is a full audiometric test to BSA procedures. This test includes air conduction and bone conduction testing  during this test hearing thresholds are recorded.
  • Step 5 allows the patient to experience hearing amplification with instruments which are prescription programmed to match the hearing loss.
  • Step 6 requires the patient to return for their hearing aid fitting. This consultation includes guiding and training the patient on how to use and care for their hearing aids and what to expect from them.
  • Step 7 is the follow up and checking of the rehabilitation process. This follow up visit will also see a repeat of the sound field testing using hearing amplification. In almost all cases this second test reveals improved scoring on word recognition.

Alternatively you can simply download our free booklet ‘7 Steps to Better Hearing’ by clicking here.

Movember at Hidden Hearing Ireland

Stone&MoustacheHidden Hearing, Ireland’s premiere hearing healthcare company is delighted to take part in this year’s annual “Movember” campaign.

Movember, in conjunction with the Irish Cancer Society, is funding ground-breaking and innovative programmes in Ireland that will see country-wide collaboration of the best minds in prostate cancer to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer research.

Every November, “Movember” is responsible for the sprouting of hundreds of moustaches around Ireland. This collective growth of facial hair raises awareness about male-specific cancers and health issues, in the aim of reducing preventable death, increasing early detection and removing the stigma that surround men’s health issues.

Hidden Hearing's first Movember volunteer!

Hidden Hearing’s first Movember volunteer!

Next month, Hidden Hearing’s male volunteers (from the senior management, administration to audiology teams) will publicly “Grow a Mo” for this very worthy cause in effort to raise funds for the Movember Foundation.

Hearing problems, like so many other health issues is often ignored, stigmatized and considered difficult to talk about. Hearing loss can be brought about by certain types of cancer and by chemo and radio-therapy treatment so cancer prevention and early detection is crucial to all aspects healthcare.

Movember focuses awareness and education on men’s health issues – so join our “Mo Bro’s” to highlight and de-stigmatize men’s physical and mental health issues and donate to this good cause.

Subscribe to our Hidden Hearing blog, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on Hidden Hearing’s Movember volunteers and for information on how and where to donate.