When Patrick Fitzpatrick returned to work, after spending seven years at home, he started noticing differences in his hearing.
While the Annacotty man had zero difficulty with one-on-one interactions, the support worker had trouble hearing someone when in large groups, either at work or in a public place such as a coffee shop.
For people like Patrick with this particular problem, it means everyday living becomes that more difficult. It doesn’t just affect work. For many, it can mean avoiding socialising with friends.
Life changing experience
But for the 50-year-old support worker, his life has now changed for the better, thanks to a free pair of hearing devices gifted by Hidden Hearing on 18 Catherine Street, Limerick City, as part of the companies Campaign for Better Hearing – Giveback Programme.
As part of the new campaign, Hidden Hearing have engaged in a Give Back Programme, in which the company will donate €8 for every free hearing test that someone takes in one of their 75 clinics nationwide. This will be put towards a fund that will go towards gifting free hearing devices for those in need.
Patrick is the first person in Limerick and the Mid-West to benefit from the Give Back Programme. In fact, he is just one of five nationwide, so far. By the end of 2018, Hidden Hearing hopes to hand out over 30 more pairs of state-of-the-art hearing devices to those with hearing loss.
Audiologist Caroline Hogan, who provided the screening & hearing test for Patrick, said the whole idea of the campaign is to create awareness of the importance of getting your hearing checked.
This is particularly important for those in their 50s and older, as Hidden Hearing are running a “Test Your Ears At 50 Years”, initiative.
“We are really trying to start people thinking, around that age group, about their hearing and to see if they are having any difficulties with it. Regardless of any difficulties, it should be one of those regular checks you should have done,” said Ms Hogan, who established the Ennis branch of Hidden Hearing & is now working in Hidden Hearing Limerick alongside Helen Shinners, who also works as an Audiologist in the Limerick City Clinic.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
Symptoms of hearing loss could be as simple as turning up the television too loud, or having to ask people to repeat themselves.
“Normally it’s a partner who may pick up on it before the actual person with the hearing loss. Because hearing loss is very much the person’s perception. It’s usually not a dramatic drop in your hearing; it’s a gradual deterioration.” – said Caroline Hogan.
At the start, Patrick was conscious of his hearing loss, but it wasn’t impacting him enough for him to have it checked out.
But that started to change when he started working as an early year’s Family Support Worker at the Northside Family Resource Centre.
“It was group work that I was doing, in around a lot of people, then I started noticing it a lot more,” — Patrick, the former caterer explained.
But now he is thankful for the opportunity to hear better and would definitely recommend the service to anyone who is looking to avail of a free hearing screening and test from Hidden Hearing, who are proudly sponsoring the Campaign for Better Hearing.
“It has been a positive experience. I have been breaking the ground with people around me, letting them know. It surprised me to hear that a lot of people were saying: ‘I must get mine checked.’ There are people in my age group who are noticing something might not be ok with their hearing, which is now very important to get checked.”
Ms Caroline Hogan said: “Things will keep improving for Patrick with these new hearing devices, we have gifted him.”
She added: “For all my time I have been working in audiology, we have never had a programme like this, and I have often come across people that have not been fortunate enough to look after their hearing. But this is a huge thing because now we can give something back to the community.”
You can now also nominate a person you feel could benefit from having a free hearing test & that person could be selected to receive a free pair of hearing devices through the Campaign for Better Hearings Give Back Programme.
Campaign for Better Hearing Nominations
All you need to do is email: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the body of the email give your name, number, address and your nominees name, number and address & please write a brief summary of why you would like to nominate that person for a free hearing test and potentially a free pair of hearing devices.