Campaign for Better Hearing Recipient
Kimmage local Stella Joyce is a full-time carer for her husband, William, and the couple have been married for 51 years. William is blind and has had a stroke, and, with Stella undergoing heart surgery last year, the couple are grateful for the support of their three children and the comfort that eight lovely grandchildren bring.
Stella’s deteriorating hearing was, however, beginning to cause her extreme stress, as it became harder to understand her family and her ailing husband, in particular. She also felt isolated and upset when she couldn’t cope in social situations and was unable to follow conversations.
Happily, the gift of new hi-tech hearing aids, as part of Hidden Hearing’s ‘Give Back’ campaign, has totally changed a difficult situation and, now, fitted with new world-leading Oticon OPN hearing technology, Stella is a new woman, she says!
Despite having hearing aids from the health service, Stella found them unreliable, so the normally active and sociable grandmother booked a free hearing test at her local Hidden Hearing branch on Sundrive Road in Kimmage
“I just felt so isolated and ashamed sometimes, as I was just missing out on conversations. I was fed up, and my family noticed my hearing loss too. The grandchildren would ask, why can’t Nanny hear us, Stella explains.
She used to work as a GP’s receptionist, and even before she retired, Stella found she would miss things on the phone or not quite catch what the more soft-spoken patients were saying.
Gradual Hearing Loss
Stella’s hearing loss was gradual over ten years. Having had a heart murmur all her life, last year she found herself in A&E with chest pain, and discovered she would need surgery.
Heart problems can escalate hearing loss and, with Stella, it certainly didn’t help her situation, Max Fletcher, the audiologist at Hidden Hearing on Sundrive Road says.
“Stella’s hearing difficulty is mainly age related and, of course, her heart disease was an issue too. Most people are not fully aware that their hearing isn’t what it used to be, as deterioration is gradual; although there are always signs. If people turn up the TV too loud, or are not as animated or involved in group situations, it’s likely they need a hearing check-up”, the audiologist who organised Stella’s free treatment and hearing devices says.
Getting hearing aids is the first step towards a totally new life for many people, as they don’t realise how isolating hearing loss has actually been for them, Max Fletcher adds.
Stella herself says she cannot believe the transformation in her confidence and her joy at having crisp clear hearing again.
“These hearing aids are so neat, I hardly know they’re in. The TV is perfect, and when I go outside my hearing adjusts to whether it’s a noisy road or a quiet day. The old-fashioned hearing aids had to be adjusted all the time, as it was too low or too noisy, but these are just like normal perfect hearing.
People take their hearing for granted, and maybe you don’t notice it until its gone and, by then, you start to feel really lost. I am so grateful Hidden Hearing has given me this opportunity”, the devoted wife and mum says.
86% of Hearing Loss Untreated
Over three-quarters of hearing loss in Ireland goes untreated, for various reasons, even though 1 in 5 adults suffer from at least a mild hearing problem. By the age of 55, a quarter of the population report a significant deterioration in their hearing and, by 65, this applies to one third of people.
According to Hidden Hearing Marketing Director, Dolores Madden, over half the population between the ages of 60 and 80 are likely to have measurable hearing loss.
“Of all the senses, hearing truly affects our quality of life and has significant health and safety implications. It is a simple fact of life, as we age, but nothing to be embarrassed by. Hearing loss simply needs treatment like any other health condition”.
Hidden Hearing’s Campaign for Better Hearing is supported by Daniel and Majella O’Donnell and aims to educate the public on taking care of their hearing, just as they would look after their teeth, eyesight, blood pressure or cholesterol.
The campaign encourages everyone over the age of 50 to have a free hearing test, and the Hidden Hearing “Give Back” programme fits complimentary hearing devices for deserving recipients.
Hidden Hearing branches countrywide offer help and advice for anyone worried about hearing loss, in a supportive environment, including detail of grants for medical card holders, tax relief and PRSI treatment benefits.
Free hearing testing is available in over 80 state-of-the-art Hidden Hearing clinics throughout Ireland, as the healthcare provider drives home the message that taking care of hearing is essential, not least because life is worth hearing!