Farmers urged to protect hearing from farm noise

100_3869An estimated one-third  farmers have some level of hearing loss caused by their inner ears’ daily bombardment from sounds that can rival a rock concert’s impact. Even farmers still in their 20s can end up with the muffled hearing of someone in middle age if they fail to protect their hearing.

“You just can’t get away from the machinery. We’re driving tractors and they’re  loud,” said Tom  a 55-year-old dairy farmer with partial hearing loss he attributes to farm noises he was exposed to in his youth.

Design changes in farm machinery, such as tractors, has made some equipment run quieter, but many still use older, noisier models. And livestock — such as pigs and chickens — still produce the same cacophony of noises; a squealing pig, for example, can be as loud as a running chainsaw.

“That was just normal when you were a kid. That was just life,” he said. He is certain now those noises are the cause of his partial hearing loss.

“Sometimes you’ll get a piece of equipment that’s louder than it ought to be. It’s a blast compared to what most people are used to,” he said. “When it’s loud we either stay a little farther away, or add to our hearing protection.”

Manufacturers have started making quieter tractors and machinery. Tractors makers, have added sound-dampening panels to the roofs of their tractor cabs and incorporated sound-absorbing laminated glass and other features.

Dolores Madden a spokesperson for Hidden Hearing said repeated exposure to noises in excess of 85 decibels — comparable to the sound of heavy traffic — damages tiny nerve endings called hair cells inside the cochlea, the inner ear’s pea-sized hearing organ. “This is all cumulative, not just one day, but the next day adds more, the day after that adds even more. And farm activities tend to be repetitive.  Younger farmers, the ones who were going to take over the farm, realise how significant a hearing loss they could face by working without ear protections.”

If you are interested in noise protection or have any questions about hearing contact Hidden Hearing 1800 370 000 or apply for a FREE information pack.

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


Hearing aids can help a person’s mental and physical well being as well as their hearing

Deaf man makes a hearing testResearch into people with hearing loss has found that those who wear hearing aids feel less physically and mentally exhausted in the evenings than those who don’t, according to information published in The Hearing Review March 2013.

Questions were asked within surveys by EuroTrak and JapanTrak conducted in Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Japan.

Among those who had significant hearing loss and did not use hearing aids, around 60% said they often felt physically exhausted in the evenings, while only 40% of people who used hearing aids said the same.

50% of those with significant hearing loss said they felt mentally exhausted by the evening, compared to only around 30% who did use hearing aids.

Dolores Madden a spokesperson from Hidden Hearing said:

“This research reveals just how much benefit hearing aids can have to a person’s mental and physical well being as well as their hearing. Straining to concentrate on what people are saying can be exhausting and if you are dealing with hearing loss it is well worth booking a free hearing test at one of our hearing centre’s to find out if a hearing aid is suitable for you.”

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

Summer can be harmful to hearing

the_week_in_pictures_18-slide-27With summer in full swing, many people across the country are enjoying the warmer weather.  Summer conjures up images of long sunny evenings, splashing around at the beach and music festivals.  It can however, be one of the noisiest seasons and many summertime activities can pose a threat to your hearing health.  Here at Hidden Hearing we’ve put together some top hearing health tips to protect your ears during the sunny season:


Weed out bad habits in the garden

Gardening is a big activity at this time of year and power tools are one of the most prevalent devices.  They’re also hazardous to hearing health.  Lawn mowers have a sound of above 90 decibels whereas a power saw can produce a sound exceeding 110 decibels.  Whatever power tools you are using be sure to wear proper ear protection when using them.


Music Matters

Summer music festivals and concert tours swing into action as the weather heats up.  That means sweet sounds but also stress of the ears.  Take precautions before you head to the venue.  These include carrying earplugs and noise-dampening headphones, as well as avoiding standing next to the loud speakers at the side of the stage.


The plane truth

Up to one in three airline passengers suffers throbbing pain in the middle ear, a dullness of hearing, or a feeling of ‘fullness’ in the ear canal on takeoff or landing. Most ear pain when flying results from changes in cabin pressure.   For a comfortable trip suck on a sweet, yawn to keep your Eustachian tube open, stay hydrated and avoid falling asleep.


Don’t let swimmer’s ear dampen your summer fun

Swimmer’s ear is a common but painful summertime ailment.  Before taking the plunge 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.


Be proactive about hearing health

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



Hidden Hearing – ‘Investing in excellence’ with a new training centre in Citywest, Dublin

130218_N1_037-(2)At Hidden Hearing we are committed to providing you with the best hearing healthcare possible, which includes recruiting, training and providing continuing education for our team of audiologists and hearing aid dispensers, whose job it is to assess and advise the best options for your hearing health.

With this objective in mind, we have designed a state-of-the-art training centre at our headquarters in Citywest, which is the leading training centre for audiology in Ireland, featuring the latest equipment and technology.

We are recognised as a leader in education and advanced training and we have a policy of staff undertaking continuous training courses, involving the very latest in audiological data and research.  Our professional and experienced training team provides theoretical and practical knowledge not only on issues relating to the ear and hearing loss, but testing and fitting techniques, the latest technological improvements, methodologies for improving hearing aid performance as well as broader knowledge such as interpersonal communication and customer service.

A special emphasis is placed on continued professional development to ensure that Hidden Hearing audiologists and dispensers are kept abreast of new technologies and advancements in hearing healthcare. We fly in specialists from around the world to deliver lectures and discussion forums on all aspects of hearing health.

Through our new high-tech facilities, we can ensure that our team has the expertise, training and experience needed to provide not only the most technically accurate evaluations, care recommendations and hearing aid fittings, but the most satisfying patient-care experience too. So you can be sure that when you have a consultation with a member of the Hidden Hearing team, you’re speaking to a hearing healthcare expert with the highest standard of training.

Many embarrassed by hearing loss



Hearing Awareness Week 2013  runs from 11th March - 17th March

Hearing Awareness Week 2013 runs from 11th March – 17th March


Hearing loss affects one in six people in Ireland, however many of those affected leave it years before seeking treatment.

This week is Hearing Awareness Week and the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Breaking Down Barriers’. The event is run by Hidden Hearing in association with the Irish Deaf Society.

According to Dr Nina Byrnes, medical advisor with Hidden Hearing, despite the fact that hearing loss is a major issue, ‘those who initially notice a problem will leave it up to 10 years before they take action’.

“The aim of Hearing Awareness Week is to prioritise hearing loss as a major health issue and highlight the crucial importance of diagnosing hearing loss at an early stage,” she commented.

Previous research has shown that almost three in four people wait at least one year before seeking treatment, while at least one in four wait more than five years.

The research also revealed that many people feel embarrassed and isolated when they realise they have a problem with their hearing.

As part of this year’s awareness week, a mobile clinic will be travelling the country offering free hearing screening tests. Free hearing tests will also be available from Hidden Hearing branches nationwide.

The Irish Deaf Society will also be holding a series of deaf awareness training events for schools.

“The ultimate goal of deaf awareness training is to increase understanding of the challenges faced by deaf people and an understanding of deaf culture in order to reduce the communication barriers between deaf and hearing people,” explained Kevin Mulqueen, chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society.

For more details about events taking place to mark Hearing Awareness Week, click here

When should you think about getting tested for hearing loss?

recognising-hearing-lossHearing loss is common with aging, affecting nearly one-third of adults over 65 and half over 75. Dolores Madden from Hidden Hearing, explains that hearing loss has two parts. One is an inability to hear sounds at lower volumes, the second is a loss of clarity — hearing but not understanding. Loss of clarity is often the first symptom of hearing loss in adults. “The first complaints we get are difficulty with background noise,” Madden says — making out a conversation in a crowded restaurant, or when music or a loud fan is on. You may hear someone calling from another room but not understand the words, or you may have trouble conversing while sitting side-by-side in front of a television, when you can’t see your companion’s lips and expressions.

Hearing tests are recommended based on symptoms, not age. The important sign of hearing loss is a change from what you could distinguish or understand before. Madden says it’s worth getting thoroughly tested to identify a hearing loss even if you don’t think you need a hearing aid. In some instances a test can identify a treatable medical condition such as fluid buildup in the ears. In cases of mild hearing loss, an audiologist can discuss strategies to make communication easier. Madden says a hearing aid becomes more necessary when normal conversations are difficult to hear, which puts people at risk of social isolation.

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