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

CMC0906-101

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 http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

CMC0906-94

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.

HeartMindBody

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie

 

 

3 steps to combat hearing loss

carpenter-hearing-loss-thumbnailairport-staffAn estimated 275 million people across the globe can’t hear clearly all the sounds they love. These people suffer from hearing loss, which the World Health Organization lists as the No. 1 sensory disability in the world.

Some people never had their hearing, as they were born deaf, but the majority had something happen along the way that took it from them. Infectious diseases like meningitis, measles, mumps and chronic ear infections, as well as head and ear injuries, and aging all can contribute to hearing loss.

But perhaps the most common cause is excessive noise. Whether it’s a one-time exposure to an intense, “impulse” sound, like gunfire, or by repeated exposure to loud sounds over time, like machinery at work, noise has the potential to rob people of their hearing.

The effects of hearing loss extend well beyond having to turn up the television. It strains a person’s ability to understand conversations, which can cause problems and misunderstandings at work and at home. Hearing loss also leads to isolation from family, friends and the environment.

“The good news is noise-induced hearing loss is preventable,” says Dolores Madden of Hidden Hearing. “So many people could be spared from it, if they just took a few easy steps.”

Step 1: Wear hearing protection

The most important step to preventing hearing loss is to wear hearing protection.

“There are many great hearing protection options, but sometimes it’s a challenge to know which to choose and how and when to wear it correctly,” says Madden. “Hearing protection is now available that is comfortable, fits well, and includes options to enhance communication – like microphones and two-way radio connections for people who need them.”

Step 2: Be mindful around the clock

Sounds louder than 85 decibels (dBA) are more common than people might think. Prolonged exposure to these high-level sounds can permanently damage your hearing, and cause ringing in the ears, along with other symptoms. Most people don’t carry decibel meters, so it’s good to know where those sound levels can occur. Some examples include:

* Attending a football game (100 to 120 dBA)

* Using a leaf blower or chainsaw (95-120 dBA)

* Riding a motorcycle (80-110 dBA)

* Using a lawn mower (82-103 dBA)

* Attending a rock concert (90-120 dBA)

* Listening to a personal music player (75-114 dBA)

* Watching a movie at the theater (72-104 dBA)

Hearing these sounds occasionally, for a limited time, isn’t a major threat to hearing. But repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing damage over time. Many people – like mine workers, police officers, construction workers, farmers and others, work in noise that is 85 dBA or higher every day on the job. As a result, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases and the second most self-reported occupational illness, according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Step 3: Reduce the volume or increase distance

Work-related noise might be unavoidable, but many times, you can be in control of the noise around you. Whenever possible, select quieter vacuums, chain saws, leaf blowers, power tools, etc. Also, be aware that the volume controls on portable entertainment devices can exceed 110 dBA – levels that may be hazardous if you listen for many hours a day. Lower the volume and limit how long you listen to them. If you aren’t able to turn down loud sounds you encounter, take a few steps back from the source of the loud sound. Even a few feet of distance between you and a loud sound can lower the decibel levels that hit 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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Avoid The High Cost Of Hearing Loss

Breaker905Many cases of hearing loss are due to excessive noise. With power tools, motorcycles, movies, lawn mowers and music players capable of producing noise levels above 85 decibels (dB), there is no shortage of sounds that put hearing at risk. Prolonged exposure to noises louder than 85 dB can damage your hearing permanently.

“Too many people are losing their hearing because of noise exposure,” says Dr. Laurie Wells, an audiologist in 3M’s hearing protection business. “Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible and costly—and not just to your pocketbook, but more importantly, to your overall well-being. Hearing loss negatively affects the most fundamental need we have as humans: the ability to communicate with each other. Evidence suggests that people who suffer from hearing loss are less social and more apt to report depression and anxiety.”

Protection Is Key

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable. People can significantly reduce their noise exposure by wearing hearing protection, avoiding repeated exposure to loud noises, and participating in hearing loss prevention programs at work.

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.

Doctors report 50% hearing loss among mobile phone users

Blog picWe’ve spoken before about the harmful effects of MP3 players to hearing but doctors in India are now reporting as much as 50% hearing loss among mobile phone users.

 

ENT surgeons have been getting many patients who complain of pain in the ears and even hearing loss.  The most common complaint is that after people hang up the phone their ears gets hot and many patients also complain about tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

 

But the most serious ENT problem is hearing loss.  If a person continues to use the phone excessively, it may turn into a permanent problem.  Hearing loss depends on the decibel level of sound and the duration for which one is exposed.

 

The advice is to decrease the amount of time spent talking on the mobile phone, use a landline instead or text.  Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide.   Freephone 1800 370 000 or http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

 

 

 

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.