Hidden Hearing warns swimmers not to let swimmer’s ear spoil summer fun


A leading Irish audiologist has warned swimmers not to let swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) spoil their summer fun.  Keith Ross, audiologist with Hidden Hearing, says that swimmer’s ear is a common summertime ailment but if left untreated can result in complications such as hearing loss.

Otitis externa is referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’ as repeated exposure to water increases the risk of contracting the condition.  When water gets trapped inside the ear canal it creates a moist environment which encourages bacteria to grow and causes infection.  Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in ears can also lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin that lines the ear canal.

Hidden Hearing audiologist Keith Ross explains, “As holiday season approaches and people prepare to hit the pool, it’s important to remember to protect your ears during water activities.  Swimmer’s ear is a common complaint, especially in older children and adults who swim regularly or get unclean water in their ears, and for that reason people often get it after a day at the beach or pool.  While it isn’t serious if treated promptly, it can ruin a holiday, with many sufferers complaining of excruciating pain, and lead to hearing complications if left untreated.”

The most common symptoms of swimmer’s ear are pain and discomfort inside the ear or a sensation of an itchy canal. Other possible signs include difficulty hearing, feeling like the ear is blocked, discharge of liquid or pus from the ear or redness and swelling around the ear.

Swimmer’s ear is usually treated successfully with eardrops and painkillers.  Prompt treatment can help prevent complications such as advanced hearing loss, recurring ear infections, the spread of infection to the face or neck, or even damage to the cartilage and bone of the ear.

“Before taking the plunge this summer remember these simple steps: wear a swimming hat to cover your ears and make sure ear canals are clear of water after swimming, bathing and showering by drying your ears with a towel or tilting your head to each side to allow water to escape.  By being proactive about hearing health and taking a few precautionary measures you can make sure you have a safe and fun summer without the risk of more serious conditions such as hearing loss” advised Keith Ross.

With over 25 years’ experience in hearing healthcare, Hidden Hearing is committed to providing the most professional hearing healthcare service to its customers. Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Smoking during pregnancy tied to offspring’s hearing loss

pregnant-woman-smokingTeenagers exposed to tobacco smoke before birth were three times more likely to have hearing loss, according to a new study that included audio tests of close to 1,000 youths.

The discovery that adolescents whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy had defects in both high-frequency and low-frequency hearing suggest that the developing auditory system is damaged by in utero exposure to tobacco smoke, according to Dr Michael Weitzman, a child health researcher from the New York University School of Medicine, who led the study.

In another study, Weitzman and his colleagues found exposure to second hand smoke during adolescence was linked to hearing loss, based on blood tests for nicotine-related products.

This time they analysed data on a group of 12- to 15-year-olds who underwent hearing tests in 2005-2006 as part of a national health survey, and whose parents were asked about smoking during pregnancy. The hearing exams were done in both ears to see if children had any trouble picking up sounds at different pitches.

Researchers discovered that 16% of teenagers surveyed had been exposed to smoke while in the womb.  These teens were three times more likely to have one-sided, low-frequency hearing loss compared to those who were not exposed to cigarette smoke.  The level of hearing impairment associated with foetal exposure to tobacco smoke was ‘relatively modest’ at three decibels however an almost three-fold increased odds of unilateral hearing loss in adolescents with prenatal smoke exposure was described as ‘worrisome’.

Weitzman said many teens with mild hearing loss don’t realise they have a problem, but that it can lead to irritability and trouble in school.  What’s more, he said it’s possible the mild hearing loss measured in some adolescents will only get worse in adulthood. Hearing researcher Abbey Berg from Pace University in New York said the findings “make sense”, given what is known about risks to the baby when a woman smokes during pregnancy, including reduced oxygen flow.

She also advised that hearing conservation and hearing education should be started at a very young age. Weitzman agreed that it’s important to spot young people with hearing trouble early saying that “Parents might really want to consider having their 12- to 15-year-olds undergo hearing tests if they smoked during pregnancy,” he said.

If you’re worried about you or your child’s hearing contact your local Hidden Hearing branch.  Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 60 branches nationwide. To book a test Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

We have a handy information booklet on how we hear if you are interested apply below and we will send you a FREE copy.howdowehear2

Keeping Up With. . . . . Hearing Loss


Bruce Jenner’s Hearing Loss Leads To Brain Tumor Scare On Kardashians

Keeping Up With the Kardashians‘ beloved patriarch Bruce Jenner‘s hearing loss led to a brain tumor scare for the Olympic legend.

That’s what viewers found out on Sunday night’s episode of the family’s E! show, when the former decathlete went to the doctor after driving wife Kris Jenner and the kids crazy by blasting the TV and not being able to hear their conversations. When Bruce checked out his hearing loss, however, he got the shock of his life — an ear growth was discovered and he had to undergo an MRI to rule out a brain tumor.

But luckily, the sports hero, 63, is going to be just fine. With Kris, Kim and Khloe Kardashian by his side at Dr. Rick Friedman‘s office, Bruce learned he didn’t have a tumor. “Your MRI is clear. Your brain’s good,” Dr. Friedman said, as Bruce’s relieved family members cheered. The doctor said Bruce just needed a hearing aid.

The proud Olympian sighed, “I don’t want it to be seen,” but when his doctor recommended a tiny one, Bruce said he would consider the idea.

Bruce claimed although his hearing wasn’t as sharp as it used to be, it was good enough. However, Kim convinced Bruce’s older son, Brandon Jenner, to pressure him on the issue, and the athlete admitted to Brandon irritably, “I have to get it checked out.”

Dr. Friedman said he had a substantial decline in high frequency sound, then said he had a growth in his ear. But everything ended well for the famous dad!

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Today is National Music Day!



Today is National Music Day and if you’re a lover of all sorts of music – or in fact any sort – today is worth clearing your diary for.

Lots of different free music events will be taking place all over the country as part of the love:live music celebrations to mark the day but remember to enjoy the music for years to come you must protect your hearing.

Here’s a taster of what to expect…


  • Opera in the Park at Merrion Square with The Marriage of Figaro, presented by the Culture, Recreation and Amenity Department, Dublin City Council.


  • In association with the OPW, love:live music’s national partner Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann stage a highlight performance at Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green bandstand featuring musicians and traditional dancers led by Kieran Hanrahan.


  • Alliance Francaise in Dublin and the Embassy of France present Soul Square, a world renowned rap-slam group from Paris with support by Workin Class Records and First Music Contact.


  • National Music Day at Christ Church Cathedral celebrates the spirit of collaboration in music and performance, with a diverse and exciting line-up of inspired pairings from Ireland, including some very special guests. The project, a collaboration between Christ Church Cathedral and LeCool Dublin, is all about the connections and relationship set in the majestic surroundings of Christ Church Cathedral.


  • National Chamber Choir in partnership with the Association of Irish Choirs and the Contemporary Music Centre will host a series of exciting pop-up events across Dublin.


  • The Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania present the 20 members of traditional folk music and dance group Lietuviskas Dobilas in Meeting House Square at 7pm.


  • OuterSpaceways Inc. and their followers will pay tribute to the legendary jazz bandleader Sun Ra through a series of guerilla performances around Dublin culminating in a performance at Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.


  • Ennis loves live music presents Clare Connections featuring Lunasa.


  • Irish Chamber Orchestra Sing Out With Strings 5th anniversary concert in University Concert Hall, Limerick, featuring 300+ students aged 4 to 14 from schools around the city.


  • RTE National Symphony Orchestra and young European guest soloists’ open rehearsal in the National Concert Hall.


  • Choral gathering in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin, to which anyone interested in joining a pop-up choir at lunch-time is more than welcome to do so. No previous choral singing experience is necessary, and the bigger the choir, the bigger the fun!

Other event highlights include:

  • The Dublin City Council’s Dublin Street Music Programme – a day long busking event.


  • Music City! A day long celebration of music through free live events as part of Derry City of Culture.


  • Na Piobairi Uilleann’s series of Try the Pipes performances and workshops in shopping centres around Ireland, and jazz/hip-hop improvisers.


  • Mixtapes from the Underground at the Wellington Weekender Festival in The Workman’s Club in Dublin.

To find out more and for a full list of all events registered across the country, log onto www.lovelivemusic.ie

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.


Hearing Loss Among Complications Linked To Obesity In Teenagers


Researchers from Columbia University’s Medical Center say they have discovered a link between obesity and hearing loss in adolescents. Their findings suggest that inner ear troubles should be added to the list of health concerns attributed to obesity.

“This is the first paper to show that obesity is associated with hearing loss in adolescents,” said the study’s lead author Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., professor and vice chair for research at the University’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

“Furthermore, hearing loss should be added to the growing list of the negative health consequences of obesity that affect both children and adults-adding to the impetus to reduce obesity among people of all ages.”

Lalwani and his colleagues drew data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 and 2006.

A total of 1,500 adolescents from age 12 to 19 answered questions regarding personal and family medical history, any medications they were taking, if they or anyone they knew smoked, socioeconomic factors, and history of noise exposure.

The results of their analysis showed that 15.16 percent of obese adolescents, marked as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 95 percentile, experienced sensorineural hearing loss compared to 7.89 percent of nonobese teens. Sensorineural hearing is defined as the level of frequency heard by humans.

Ultimately, the research team identified a 1.85-fold increase in the odds of developing low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. The research team did note that this level of hearing loss would not hinder upon human speech but rather hearing noises in a group or crowded area.

“These results have several important public health implications,” said Lalwani, who is also an otolaryngologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

“Because previous research found that 80 percent of adolescents with hearing loss were unaware of having hearing difficulty, adolescents with obesity should receive regular hearing screening so they can be treated appropriately to avoid cognitive and behavioral issues.”

Until further research is carried out Lalwani’s team can only speculate as to what causes this apparent loss of ear function as a teenager gains weight. Research from the past has also linked hearing loss to various conditions caused by obesity including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Deaf contestant enters the Big Brother House

Sam EvansBig Brother UK kicked off its 14th series last night as nine housemates entered Britain’s most famous house. Among the contestants is Sam Evans who was born with severe hearing loss (70-80%), which his parents discovered when he was three years old.    Hearing loss is becoming more and more prevalent in young people.  There are many misconceptions around hearing loss – one major one being that people with hearing loss tend to be older.  At Hidden Hearing we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people sometimes as young as 30 suffering from hearing loss which you might expect a person aged 70 to have.Sam, who is favourite to win the show, represented Great Britain and Wales as part of their deaf football team demonstrating that being Deaf or hard of hearing is no barrier to achieving goals or dreams.He also wants to become a role model to Deaf children who are too ashamed to wear their hearing aids.  Many people are reluctant to use hearing aids because of their preconceptions about big, old, whistling one-colour hearing aids that they feel would be deeply embarrassing to wear.  However, modern hearing aids are small, comfortable and nearly invisible.  You notice hearing aids not hearing loss and at Hidden Hearing we have hearing aids to suit all lifestyles and budgets.

We have a handy information booklet on how we hear if you are interested apply below and we will send you a FREE copy.howdowehear2

Father’s Day: Give Dad the Gift of Hearing

Father's DayAs Father’s Day approaches (Sunday, 16th June), now is a great time to focus on the important influence that family members have on encouraging people to take action about their hearing loss.  In a survey we conducted for Hearing Awareness Week 2011, we found that half of respondents (49%) said that encouragement from family and friends influenced their decision to seek treatment.  So, before reaching for a tie, aftershave or golf jumper this weekend, how about a gift that will really strengthen the connection between you and your father – the gift of better hearing?

While it might sound unusual, there’s probably no better gift for a dad with hearing loss.   Research has shown that untreated hearing loss leads to considerable negative, social, psychological, cognitive and health effects that go beyond hearing alone.  It can also make family time far more difficult and frustrating for your father and for the whole family.

If you suspect that your dad might have hearing loss, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does he seem to have trouble hearing on the telephone?
  • Is it more difficult for him to follow conversations?
  • Does he keep turning up the TV or radio?
  • Does he sometimes miss a telephone ring or doorbell?
  • Does he seem more irritated or tired at big family gatherings?
  • Does he ask for things to be repeated or for people to stop mumbling?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, why not make a free appointment with an audiologist at the local Hidden Hearing branch?  Hearing loss can be easily diagnosed and treated yet almost 30% of people suffering with hearing loss leave it more than five years to seek treatment.  Accompanying your dad to his appointment may also help make him more open to getting his hearing tested.

Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 60 branches nationwide.  To book a test Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie. We also publish a number of reference booklets if you are like the popular Body, Heart & Mind. You can apply for a copy below.

Please send me a FREE Body, Heart & Mind Booklet.