Thursday 14th April 2011: Hidden Hearing, Ireland’s leading provider of hearing healthcare today offered free hearing tests to all adults waiting for assessment through the HSE. The ‘National Audiology Review’ published yesterday by the HSE estimates that 10,211 adults are languishing on community-based audiology waiting lists. Hidden Hearing already provides over 30,000 free full hearing evaluations through its network of 63 branches and clinics nationwide, as well as a further 8,700 free hearing screenings through its mobile clinic which travels to 300 locations around the country annually.
“There is no need for people to be waiting so long for what is a relatively straightforward hearing assessment. Hidden Hearing, has been offering this free service for 25 years and we would be delighted to assist anyone in the country who feels they need a test. Our audiologists are fully qualified to the highest international standards and we will provide you with a full report very quickly – at absolutely no obligation. People wait too long before getting a hearing issue examined, with adults delaying taking action for up to 15 years, so to have to wait any longer is most unsatisfactory”, said Medical Consultant to Hidden Hearing, Dr. Nina Byrnes.
She said that for adults in particular, the longer people wait to seek treatment, the longer the rehabilitation process can take.
Dr Byrnes said that among the 10,211 adults waiting for hearing assessments that it was likely that many people would not need hearing aids or further treatment and those people would be put at ease. Anyone who required further steps would be advised of the options available to them. Hidden Hearing’s services are fully recognised by the Department of Social Protection and people can avail of their PRSI entitlements in purchasing any hearing aids.
“The most important thing is that people do not sit back, wait and do nothing. Hearing loss has a hugely detrimental impact on quality of life, with people feeling isolated, embarrassed and withdrawing from social interaction. We would appeal to anyone who is worried about themselves, or a family member or friend to come and avail of our free test – they will feel a whole lot better afterwards”, said Dr. Byrnes.
Hidden Hearing has regularly highlighted that a lack of audiology training in Ireland was a serious issue in the provision of public services and the company has been arguing for many years that there needs to be a dedicated course in Ireland. In the absence of such a course Hidden Hearing is committed to raising standards in the sector and its audiologists are trained to the highest international standards, many through the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, and are members of the Irish Hearing Society (IHS) or Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (ISHAA).
Hidden Hearing invests €250,000 annually in Continuous Professional Development for staff and a further €200,000 on new audiometry and testing equipment. Hidden Hearing was also instrumental in setting up an audiology course for dispensers in Ireland with Anglia Ruskin University in the UK and it is hoping to establish a similar course in Ireland through a university or private college.
Anyone wishing to avail of a free hearing test through Hidden Hearing should call 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie to see where the mobile clinic will be in attendance.