Daniel and Julia help Hidden Hearing celebrate its 1st birthday in Letterkenny

Published Date: 21 October 2010
By Staff reporter: Donegal Democrat

 

Julia O’Donnell, mother of international singing star Daniel O’Donnell, can hear her son’s songs more easily now, and she credited services she received at Hidden Hearing’s Letterkenny branch with the improvement.

Daniel and Julia were in Letterkenny this week to attend Hidden Hearing’s first birthday celebrations in the town.

 

“Enjoying conversation with your family and friends, or a good sing song, is what keeps me going,” Julia said. She said she looks forward to the daily telephone call from her famous son when he is away touring, “but with my deteriorating hearing I was finding it very difficult to hear him properly.”

 

Julia had experienced difficulty hearing for a number of years, when her daughter Margo convinced her to seek help. Julia attended a free hearing test consultation at Hidden Hearing’s Letterkenny branch and was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears. She was fitted with two miniature digital hearing aids that restored her ability to hear.

 

“I am delighted with my new hearing aids and that I have my hearing back again,” Julia said. She said Hidden Hearing looked after her very well. “Now I can look forward to enjoying Daniel’s music and chatting with my family, friends and all of Daniel’s fans for the rest of my days,” she said.

 

Daniel said Julia’s family was delighted as well.

 

“She suffered from quite a severe hearing impairment, so conversation became increasingly difficult Julia O’Donnell, mother of international singing star Daniel O’Donnell, can hear her son’s songs more easily now, and she credited services she received at Hidden Hearing’s Letterkenny branch with the improvement.

Daniel and Julia were in Letterkenny this week to attend Hidden Hearing’s first birthday celebrations in the town.

 

“Enjoying conversation with your family and friends, or a good sing song, is what keeps me going,” Julia said. She said she looks fo

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rward to the daily telephone call from her famous son when he is away touring, “but with my deteriorating hearing I was finding it very difficult to hear him properly.”

 

Julia had experienced difficulty hearing for a number of years, when her daughter Margo convinced her to seek help. Julia attended a free hearing test consultation at Hidden Hearing’s Letterkenny branch and was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears. She was fitted with two miniature digital hearing aids that restored her ability to hear.

 

“I am delighted with my new hearing aids and that I have my hearing back again,” Julia said. She said Hidden Hearing looked after her very well. “Now I can look forward to enjoying Daniel’s music and chatting with my family, friends and all of Daniel’s fans for the rest of my days,” she said.

 

Daniel said Julia’s family was delighted as well.

 

“She suffered from quite a severe hearing impairment, so conversation became increasingly difficult for her. It also put quite a strain on the rest of the family,” he said. “We are so thankful that we have found a solution for mammy. She’s a new woman, thanks to her new hearing aids.”

 

Dr. Nina Byrnes, medical liaison officer and GP with Hidden Hearing, said family members are often crucial in encouraging a person with hearing impairment to seek help.

 

“Typical age-related hearing loss can be easily treated, and a simple solution such as a digital hearing aid can make the world of difference to people’s lives,” she said.

 

Benny Cox, hearing aid audiologist with Hidden Hearing, Letterkenny, said the group was delighted to help Julia experience vastly improved hearing.

 

“Every year Hidden Hearing helps tens of thousands of people improve their hearing, which is so vital to ensure their continued quality of life,” he said. He thanked Daniel and Julia for helping them celebrate their first birthday in Letterkenny.

 

“If you are lucky enough to get to my age, you’ll realise just how important your hearing is to you,” Julia said.

for her. It also put quite a strain on the rest of the family,” he said. “We are so thankful that we have found a solution for mammy. She’s a new woman, thanks to her new hearing aids.”

 

Dr. Nina Byrnes, medical liaison officer and GP with Hidden Hearing, said family members are often crucial in encouraging a person with hearing impairment to seek help.

 

“Typical age-related hearing loss can be easily treated, and a simple solution such as a digital hearing aid can make the world of difference to people’s lives,” she said.

 

Benny Cox, hearing aid audiologist with Hidden Hearing, Letterkenny, said the group was delighted to help Julia experience vastly improved hearing.

 

“Every year Hidden Hearing helps tens of thousands of people improve their hearing, which is so vital to ensure their continued quality of life,” he said. He thanked Daniel and Julia for helping them celebrate their first birthday in Letterkenny.

 

“If you are lucky enough to get to my age, you’ll realise just how important your hearing is to you,” Julia said.

 

Hearing Loss in Older People – An Interview with Dr. Nina Byrnes from Hidden Hearing

On Hearing Loss

1. Dr. Byrnes. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Can you tell us a little about your background?

I have been working full-time as a GP since 2005. I am a partner in Oakwood Medical Clinic, a new doctor’s surgery in Castleknock, Dublin. When I’m not in practice I’m also involved in teaching Trinity medical students. I present the RTE health show ‘Health of the Nation’ and write the health column ‘Medical Matters’ in the Sunday Business Post Agenda magazine. This year I began working with Hidden Hearing as their Medical Liaison Officer. In my work as a GP I see that hearing loss and untreated hearing loss are significant issues. My role with the company is to promote better hearing health.

2. Is hearing loss an inevitable part of the ageing process?

The accepted figure for people with hearing loss in Ireland is 1 in 6. However, as people get older, say over the age of 60, hearing loss typically affects 1 in 3 people, so it is a very common problem. However, with modern digital hearing aids, hearing loss can be easily addressed. Researchers have found that digital hearing aids offered people a 40% improvement in hearing and quality of life. My advice is if you suspect you may have a hearing loss, go to your GP or book a free hearing test at any one of over sixty Hidden Hearing branches and clinics nationwide. While hearing loss may be more likely as you‘re older, suffering from it should not be inevitable.

3. What are the most common causes of hearing loss in older people?

Hearing loss can often be caused by a blockage in the outer or middle ear, or both, which could be caused by an infection or wax build up or other factors. This type of hearing loss can be temporary in nature and in some cases may be treated medically or surgically.

If the hearing loss is Presbyacus, also known as age-related hearing loss, there is a problem in the inner ear or auditory nerve, which affects the hair cells that detect soft, high-pitched sounds, so it can be very difficult to hear speech clearly, especially when there is competing background noise. This type of loss is permanent; however it can usually be addressed with hearing aids. In this case the first step on the road to better hearing is to take a hearing test to determine the type and level of hearing loss you have.

4. Is hearing loss progressive?

Yes in some cases hearing loss can get worse over time. This type of hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors. The majority of progressive hearing loss is passed on genetically. Noise-induced hearing loss can also be progressive, with continued exposure to loud noise.

However, all forms of hearing loss can have a negative effect if left untreated. Untreated hearing loss can affect the brain’s ability to remember common everyday sounds.  Once hearing has started to fade, the brain stores sounds up to three years and after seven years this memory becomes weaker. Delaying treatment can therefore seriously affect the rehabilitation process for patients once treatment is sought, as the ‘’new’’ sounds can be disorientating and confusing.

5. Are people reluctant to admit to hearing loss? Is denial a problem?

In my experience as a GP, and this experience would be echoed throughout Hidden Hearing’s 60 hearing centres, is that people typically ignore their hearing loss and delay seeking treatment for many years. There are many reasons why people delay in seeking treatment for a hearing loss. People often see it as part of the ageing process, so don’t do anything about it. Also, as hearing loss happens gradually overtime, people learn to adapt and cope

Sometimes people don’t realise just how advanced treatment has become. There may also be a stigma attached to hearing loss and wearing hearing aids. In many cases people don’t realise that hearing aids have become so advanced and discreet, you’d never know someone is wearing one. Yet despite this fewer than 20% of people, who could benefit from hearing loss treatment, actually seek treatment.

6. What are the social consequences of continued neglect of hearing loss?

Delaying treatment for any medical condition, whether a hearing loss or another condition is never a good idea. We need to ensure that those who aren’t hearing as well as they used to, continue to lead fulfilling and active lives. If you are struggling with your hearing, often people develop coping mechanisms, conversation can place a great strain on them and people can even stop socialising and start to become isolated.

As hearing loss usually develops over time, its often family and friends who first notice the hearing loss and therefore can play a key role in encouraging people to take a hearing test.

On Testing

7. How can one arrange a hearing test?

You can arrange to have a free hearing test at any one of Hidden Hearing’s 60 hearing centres nationwide or call free on 1800 882 884 or visiting www.hiddenhearing.ie for further information.

8. How much does a hearing test cost?

A no obligation hearing test with Hidden Hearing is entirely free. A hearing test takes approximately one hour and includes questions on your medical history, an examination of your ears, a speech mapping test and expert advice. A full hearing test report will be sent to participants’ GPs. Hidden Hearing recommends that a friend or family member accompanies you to the hearing test and consultation.

9. Can a hearing test be done at home?

Yes, you can arrange to have a free hearing test in the privacy of your own home by calling free on 1800 882 884.

On Hearing Aids

10. On average, how much does a hearing aid cost?

Hidden Hearing provide a range of digital hearing aids, offered at various prices to suit our customers’ budgets and hearing loss. Hidden Hearing offer entry level digital hearing aids starting at €295, but prices can rise to say €1,000/ €2,000. Hearing aids can be an expensive investment and I know that Hidden Hearing always ask that customers bring a companion for their hearing test and all consultations – both for support during the test but also buying a hearing aid should be a family decision.

11. Can you give a brief description of how a modern hearing aid works?

The new generation of modern hearing aids use computer processing and multidirectional microphones to pick out speech from a noisy environment, so the important speech element is filtered back to the wearer. And if you are using two hearing aids, both devices communicate with each other in real time, so they adapt in sync to the noise environment. To improve people’s experience of using mobile phones, TVs, radios and other audio and entertainment devices, some new digital hearing aids can even connect wirelessly to these devices so you have a seamless hearing experience. Things have certainly moved on for the best.

12. Is a hearing aid easy to use?

Yes, hearing aids are extremely easy to use. At Hidden Hearing, the audiologist will assist in choosing the right hearing aid to suit the customer’s lifestyle and will guide them through how the hearing aid operates. Hidden Hearing also provides an outstanding aftercare service which includes a five year warranty, a 90 day money back guarantee and free batteries for life. Two follow up visits are included to ensure that the customer is comfortable and happy with the hearing aid and that the device is fine-tuned to suit their every day life.

13. How visible is a hearing aid device?

Hearing aids can differ in size and appearance. Often negative perceptions of hearing aids are fueled by memories of older, analogue hearing aids. The new digital hearing aids are so much more technologically advanced and discreet; they are often invisible to other people. ‘In The Ear’ hearing aids are the most popular style recommended by Hidden Hearing. These hearing aids are custom made for each patient. An impression of the inside of your ear is taken by the Audiologist to ensure that the shell of the hearing aid is made to exactly match the contours of your ear.

– About Hidden Hearing

Hidden Hearing is one of Ireland’s premier providers of hearing healthcare in the private sector with a national network of over sixty branches and clinics. With modern testing facilities, qualified hearing aid audiologists, state-of-the-art audiological equipment and hearing devices, free aftercare service and a 90-day money back guarantee, Hidden Hearing is committed to providing their customers with a professional hearing healthcare service.

For more information or to book a free hearing test, call 1800 882 884 or visitwww.hiddenhearing.ie.

Source: Senior Times.ie

O’Donnell joy over mother’s hearing

Tuesday October 19 2010

Singer Daniel O’Donnell is music to his elderly mother’s ears again after the 91-year-old had her hearing restored following years of problems.

The Irish star said he was delighted his mother had been helped and was now able to enjoy conversations.

Julia O’Donnell was fitted with two miniature hearing aids that solved a decade of difficulties and her heart-throb son said a weight had been lifted from the family.

“She suffered from quite a severe hearing impairment, so conversation became increasingly difficult for her,” Daniel said.

“It also put quite a strain on the rest of the family. We are so thankful that we have found a solution for Mammy.”

The 48-year-old star is renowned for his approachable and affable manner. He has even invited followers to his home in Kincasslagh, Donegal, for tea. He has spoken of being very close to his mother, who also lives in the village.

Julia said: “If you are lucky enough to get to my age, you’ll realise just how important your hearing is to you,” she said.

“Enjoying conversation with your family and friends or a good sing-song is what keeps me going. For instance when Daniel is off touring, I really look forward to his telephone call every day, but with my deteriorating hearing I was finding it very difficult to hear him properly.”

Daniel said that despite her age Julia travelled to his concerts around Ireland this summer, including those in Cork, in the far south of the country, and Cavan.

She has had hearing problems for around 10 years and tried various hearing aids but none was successful. After a free check-up at a Hidden Hearing clinic, she was fitted with the digital devices.

Source: Herald.ie 19/10/10

Daniel’s mammy visited Hidden Hearing in Letterkenny

Singing sensation Daniel O’Donnell is music to his elderly mother’s ears again after the 91-year-old had her hearing restored following years of problems.

The Irish star said he was delighted his “mammy” had been given a boost and was now able to enjoy conversations.

Julia O’Donnell was fitted with two miniature hearing aids that solved a decade of difficulties and her heartthrob son said a weight had been lifted from the family.

Daniel O’Donnell, 48, said his mother suffered from quite a severe hearing impairment, so conversation became “increasingly difficult for her,”

“It also put quite a strain on the rest of the family.

“We are so thankful that we have found a solution for Mammy.”

Mrs O’Donnell said she was delighted her hearing had been restored, allowing her the chance to talk to Daniel’s fans, take part in sing-songs, and hear her famous son on the phone when he’s away on tour.

Picturesque

“If you are lucky enough to get to my age, you’ll realise just how important your hearing is to you,” she said.

“Enjoying conversation with your family and friends or a good sing-song is what keeps me going.

“For instance when Daniel is off touring, I really look forward to his telephone call every day, but with my deteriorating hearing I was finding it very difficult to hear him properly.”

O’Donnell has a loyal fan base, mostly made up of women, and is renowned for his approachable and affable manner.

He has even invited followers to his home in Kincasslagh, in Donegal’s picturesque north-west coast, for tea.

But he broke hearts in 2002 when he married Majella McLennan in a ceremony in his native county, and hundreds of his music lovers lined the streets outside the church.

Source: BBC N Ireland

Hidden Hearing to inject €18m in branch expansion drive

 

Turnover at Hidden Hearing, the country’s largest provider of hearing healthcare, rose by 15 per cent last year. Its chief executive, Stephen Leddy, is now planning to invest some €18million over the next five years in order to double the company’s branch network.

The company’s investment plans follow strong sales growth over the past number of years, with 2009 seeing a record number of hearing device fittings, and turnover at the subsidiary of William Demant Holding rising to €17 million.

Hidden Hearing entered the Irish market 25 years ago, and has 50 audiologists and 60 support staff.

The company currently has 20 standalone shops, a presence in 40 day centres and two mobile units that target rural areas. It expects to open six new outlets by next spring, creating 22 new jobs.

Leddy said hearing problems affected one in six of the population, but that Ireland, together with Finland, had the lowest penetration of hearing aids in Europe.

‘‘There is still stigma attached to it here – in that it is seen as some sort of handicap. We know for a fact that it takes about ten years from when people suffer some hearing loss to doing anything about it People don’t want to know.

They don’t realise that the new generation of hearing aids are tiny.

Also, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to sort it out.” He said that, contrary to common perception, hearing aids being sold today were smaller, broke down less frequently and were more reliable than their predecessors.

Hidden Hearing’s packages start from €295, but the company’s average selling price is €1,900.

He acknowledged that prices in its subsidiary in the North were about 20 per cent cheaper than prices in the Republic, but he said they compared favourably to those charged by independent audiologists.

‘‘We are not the cheapest in the market, but our average selling price is in line with the average among independents.

Specsavers [which is growing its presence in the market] is cheaper, but the aftercare is not built into its pricing,” he said.

‘‘If you buy a hearing aid from us, you have a five-year warranty. You have a 90-day free trial.

We give people two follow-up visits as the hearing aid often needs to be fine tuned.

We offer batteries for life,” he said.

Leddy said excellent customer service was a key selling point for the firm.

However, its customer service and its prices came in for criticism when RTE’s Liveline aired a programme in which people criticised what they believed was excessive pricing and a misleading money back guarantee.

Hidden Hearing subsequently extended its money back guarantee to 90 days.

‘‘Our referral and return business is good, but we sat down and looked at all the niggles customers had – and we made a few changes,” said Leddy.

He added that some of the claims made on RTE were inaccurate and were later clarified.

Leddy said Hidden Hearing, which carries out about 30,000 ‘‘free no-obligation hearing tests’’ each year, had seen a large rise in the number of young customers seeking help due to noise-induced hearing loss.MP3 players were a major contributor, he said.

To date, Hidden Hearing has relied on insert advertising, direct marketing and its sustained communication programme with GPs to advertise its service and its wares.

In September, it announced it had signed RTE presenter and Sunday Business Post Agenda magazine columnist Dr Nina Byrnes as a brand ambassador and company spokesperson, who is fronting a campaign for the over-60s.

‘‘Branding is a constant battle and it always will be in this business. One in three over60s suffers hearing loss, yet only 20 per cent do something about it. The campaign is all about encouraging people to get a hearing test,” he said.

Leddy expressed huge concern at the lack of regulation of the sector. ‘‘You do not have to be qualified to dispense a hearing aid in Ireland – unlike almost every other country in Europe. It is completely unregulated.

You could set yourself up as a hearing aid audiologist. Anyone can,” he said.

He said this left the sector wide open to unscrupulous practices.

Those claims were reinforced by the industry body – the Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (ISHAA) – which said it had repeatedly looked for regulation of the sector, and had held numerous meetings with the Department of Health.

‘‘We do so much work to get our protocols right and invest in training.

We need to get that message out there, as not enough people know.

‘‘People should shop around, but they should also be aware that, if you buy a hearing aid over the internet, you won’t get it programmed properly or get it serviced all that easily,” he said.

 

The Sunday Business Post Online : Susan Mitchell

Noise affects our physical and mental well being

A major Swedish study shows that noise has a great affect on our lives. Not just at work but also in our free time. The consequences are hearing loss, stress, uneasiness, concentration difficulty and many other symptoms.

You might recognise the situation: You are I a café trying to hold a conversation with your friends over a cup of coffee, but the conversation is constantly being interrupted by other peoples talking, chairs scraping across the floor, telephones ringing, thundering espresso machines and music which drowns out everything else. The conversation is difficult to follow, you get a headache, you feel tired, you cannot concentrate and in the worst instance you can get a hearing impairment.

The Swedish study, which is conducted by Hörselskadades Riksförbund (HRF), a large, Swedish interest group for the hearing impaired, shows that it is not just in the traditional noisy workplaces such as building sites and factories that noise can have negative consequences. We can also be affected by noise in offices, schools and in our free time.

Bothersome noise at work
According to the study, 57% are disturbed by noise in the office and 51% of the 142 journalists asked reported that it was difficult to concentrate at work. Among teachers and pedagogues, 67% answered that they think the noise they experience in the workplace is a problem and 57% experience that it is difficult to hear what the pupils are saying. The sound level in schools is often around 65-78 decibels. In order for a teacher to be heard, they must speak at a level of 75-88 decibels, which is equivalent to the sound of heavy traffic. That is a level which is directly damaging for ones hearing.

( Source: Hörselskadades Riksförbund 2010)

Mary Gets the gift of Hearing Back!

bRetirement rings about the inevitable fear of social isolation but that fear became almost like a nightmare for Mary Conlon a number of years back when her departure from Clark’s shoes after 38 years coincided with a rapid decline in her hearing.
As the problem grew worse and worse, Mary struggled to take part in conversations and despite becoming involved in Dundalk Active Retirement Group the Louth Village woman found it difficult to keep up to speed with what was happening at meetings.

Then she discovered Hidden Hearing and her life was transformed.

“A number of years ago, going back 10 or 15 years, I found that when I went to ICA meetings it was hard for me to hear all that was going on.
“Then when Hidden Hearing came to Dublin Street I got a pair of hearing aids which I had for five years. I was told that the problem was getting progressively worse though but thankfully modern technology has been very good to me and now I’m able to socialise freely.

“The staff at Hidden Hearing have been very good and very caring towards me and it has made a huge difference to my life.

“When I joined the active retirement group I became quite involved in it and it makes an awful difference when you can actually hear what people are saying when they are speaking from the floor.

“There’s loads of different models but the team at Hidden Hearing help you find the one that suits you best. The pair I have now drones out any heavy noise around me which was what was causing me the most problems.

“It’s a brilliant service and I’ve asked them to speak to the members of my group. All the staff are extremely nice and they give great personal attention.

“A few of my friends have gone to Hidden Hearing since I have but it’s something I’d recommend to anyone because it is an awful drawback when you can’t hear what is being said.

“People also can get agitated when you ask them to repeat something but the service Hidden Hearing provide really can change all that,” said Mary.

( Source: Dundalk Democrat )