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


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.

It’s time to wrap up well and protect your hearing – book a free hearing test today

rby-cold-weather-hair-jessica-simpson-mdnWinter is a time for many people, young and old to take varying degrees of action to safeguard and enhance health, and the same applies to hearing healthcare, so there’s no better time than now to book a free hearing test with Hidden Hearing.

We spoke to  Ben Owen Audiologist  in the Marlboro Street, Cork – Branch of Hidden Hearing. Ben Described how “the ear is an amazing but delicate piece of hardware that is in constant use”. He went on to describe how we rely on our hearing to carry out the most basic of human tasks but it also is responsible for one of our most primal needs – that of communication and connection with our community, thus its vital role in our physical and emotional health.

Winter months and plummeting temperatures can have repercussions for hearing as the ears can become chilled and rather painful. As great deal of heat is lost from the body via the head, it is advisable to wear a woolly hat or wrap a scarf around your ears to prevent earache.

The common cold is a frequent complaint in winter and in severe cases can cause or effect sinusitis. Acute and chronic sinusitis can lead to temporary hearing loss which is not only debilitating if not treated but chronic sinusitis in particular can lead to developing permanent hearing conditions.

Dolores Madden, Director of Marketing with Hidden Hearing has this advice ‘Certain ailments and cold weather can have the knock on effect of causing hearing problems, the best thing to do is to call your local Hidden Hearing branch for a free hearing screening to examine the issue. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as removing ear wax- which is a free service we offer to the over 60’s.”

For more information on how to protect your hearing this winter and for details of the free hearing screening and wax removal offers see or call 1800 370 000.

French horn players are most at risk of hearing loss in an orchestra



Aspiring musicians beware – playing the French horn can be bad for your hearing.

It is one of the most rousing instruments in the orchestra, used to create soaring fanfares and powerful harmonics. However, it seems the beauty of the French horn may be lost on the very musicians who play it because it causes them to lose their hearing.

Scientists have found that those who play the distinctive, curved brass instruments experience some of the loudest noises within an orchestra and have the highest risk of hearing loss. New findings suggest that up to a third of horn players suffer hearing problems in at least one of their ears, with younger musicians being most at risk. It is thought that the shape of the instrument, which can direct the sound towards the player’s ears and those of their neighbour, is partly responsible for this increased risk compared to other musicians.

French horns are also often used to play loud fanfares while in classical orchestras horn players are seated side by side in the midst of the brass section. Dr Wayne Wilson, an audiologist who led the study at the study from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, said: “It is now well established that professional orchestral musicians can be exposed to potentially harmful sound levels in their working environment. “It is also acknowledged that sound exposure varies significantly across the orchestra from musician to musician according to position, repertoire, and instrument played, with horn players thought to be one of the most at-risk groups. “Even mild hearing loss can result in difficulties discriminating pitch, abnormal loudness growth and tinnitus, all of which can effect a musician’s ability to perform, subsequently jeopardising his or her livelihood.”

The researchers examined the hearing of 142 French horn players attending a conference of the International Horn Society and compared this to how often they played. Their study, which is published Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, found that the majority played their horns for more than 20 hours a week, with two thirds of those who took part being members of an orchestra. They found that overall 22.2 per cent of the horn players showed signs of hearing loss while among those who were under 40 years old, 32.9 per cent showed signs of hearing loss.  Just 18 per cent wore hearing protection when they were playing. French horns can reach noise levels of up to 106 decibels while trombones and trumpets can exceed 114 decibels.

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


Ireland’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing ‘Heroes’ Honoured at National Awards


Legendary singer Daniel O’Donnell presented the 2013 Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards Ireland’s annual awards to highlight the achievements and accomplishments of those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

An all-Ireland joint initiative between Hidden Hearing and the Irish Deaf Society, the Awards honour those who are Deaf or hard of hearing and have made a significant contribution to Irish society, their community, workplace, family or through sporting excellence.

Members of the public nominated their ‘hero’ who they felt deserved to be recognised for an award. The winners included Maura Buckley, the first Deaf woman to become a qualified teacher (teaching for 32 years) and the first Deaf vice principal at St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls, and Deaflympian footballer Stuart Foy, the most capped Deaf football player in Irish history.

CMC0906-10Congratulating the winners, Daniel O’Donnell said: “I would like to congratulate each of our six award winners here today as they are true examples of real heroes in Irish society. Each person has shown great determination to reach their goals and they have proven that all obstacles can be overcome.  Their achievements and successes deserve to be honoured and brought to the attention of the Irish public.”

Applauding the winners, Stephen Leddy, Managing Director, Hidden Hearing said: The ‘Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards’ is the only awards initiative to focus on the achievements of the Deaf and hard of hearing community in Ireland.  The judging panel had some extremely tough decisions to make this year, with some really high calibre nominees. All of the winners demonstrated that being Deaf or hard of hearing does not have to hold you back in life.”

Discussing the Awards, Kevin Mulqueen, Chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society said: “Over the last three years the Heroes Awards has proven an excellent platform for creating awareness about the Deaf and hard of hearing community in Ireland and of its role in Irish society.  We are delighted to be partnering with Hidden Hearing in celebrating the success and triumphs of those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.”

If you’re worried about you or your 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