The Hearing Consultancy has opened a new clinic in Martins lane, Mullingar

Peter Burke, Hearing Aid Audiologist with The Hearing Consultancy, says hearing loss is more prevalent than one might imagine, and as many as one in six people suffer from some degree. There are many reasons for that, but the two biggest are age and exposure to excessive noise - which account for nearly two thirds of all hearing loss. Martyn Mulry, Peter’s colleague at The Hearing Consultancy, said: “You start to lose the high frequencies as you come out of your teens and it gets more prevalent as we get to the 50s and beyond.” Other factors include injury or infection, disease or congenital issues (problems present from birth).

While we can’t do anything to stop ageing and/or illness and disease, noise exposure is different. Veterans of the nightclub scene could suffer in the future for the pleasures of the loud music they enjoyed in the past, as could those who use headphones. Martyn said: “If you can hear what someone else is listening to through their headphones, then you are probably in the company of someone who is storing up future problems.” Good quality headphones have the ability to reduce background noise and lessen the need to turn up the volume excessively through the headset. Hearing Solutions to Hearing Problems The good news, say Peter and Martyn, who are both graduates of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, is that if you suffer from a hearing problem, modern hearing aid technology means there are more options than ever. “You don’t need to miss out on the things you enjoy - conversations with family and friends, music, TV or the normal sounds of life,” says Martyn. Following an examination, any identified, referable problems will be highlighted and if necessary, a report prepared for your GP. If there are no contradictions and a non-referable hearing loss is identified, your audiologist will guide you to an appropriate solution.

The two bring their Hearing Consultancy clinic to Martins Lane Clinic in Mullingar every second Thursday. Bookings for consultations can be made using free phone 1800 80 43 22 or at Are all hearing losses the same? There are three different kinds of hearing loss - sensorineural, nerve damage to the inner ear; conductive, problems with the ear canal, ear drum or middle ear; or mixed, a combination of those. “Few people are completely deaf,” says Martyn. “They usually experience a loss of clarity, similar to with eyesight, as many people need glasses to either improve short-sighted problems or distance issues. We still hear but have problems distinguishing words and you end up asking people to repeat themselves.” Sometimes hearing loss can be down to an obvious physical problem such as wax build-up.

Those people, after a 15-20 minute treatment, can find an immediate improvement in hearing. Other people can require medical treatment for possible infections, and in such cases, Martyn and Peter will advise them to go to a doctor. “An audiogram paints a picture. When we look at an audiogram, we have a fair idea of what may be at the root of the person’s problems,” says Martyn. Tinnitus Tinnitus is a sensation of sound generated inside the head that only the sufferer can hear. The sound can take many forms - ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring. Some people experience it occasionally; for others it is constant. It is a condition that affects many - including, as it happens, both Peter and Martyn. Peter’s advice is: “Always consult a physician or hearing professional if you are experiencing the onset of symptoms of tinnitus.

While there is no known cure, there are a number of well-established tools and treatments that can reduce the perceived burden of tinnitus and talking to a professional can put you on the right path.” The first port of call is to rule out any underlying medical condition: “Always seek advice from a professional, either your GP or an audiologist,” Peter says. Choosing a hearing aid The process of determining which hearing aids are most likely to benefit a patient can appear complex, but selecting the right device can transform the user’s quality of life, says Martyn. “A hearing aid is basically an amplifier - but you don’t want everything indiscriminately amplified, so a good digital hearing aid will amplify, but also be good at noise management, and will filter out some of the unwanted sounds.” The Hearing Consultancy deals with the world’s leading hearing aid companies, and so has access to a wide and comprehensive range of styles and technology levels. “There is always a balancing act between aesthetics and functionality,” says Martyn, who adds that while some people like their hearing aids to be discreet, some prefer flamboyant styles in bright colours - even bejewelled.

These can appeal to children in particular. A common Google question is “how much do hearing aids cost?”, the answer can relate to a person’s Benefit entitlements.  Hearing aids in some cases can be supplied Free of charge, or tax relief and grant aid maybe used to help towards the cost of the wide range of top-quality devices available. Visit: Freephone 1800 80 43 22

For more information or bookings Freephone 1800 80 43 22

Web Email:

The Hearing Consultancy Westmeath Clinics:

Martin’s Lane Clinic, Mullingar | Mark Wright Pharmacy, Tyrrellspass | Haven Pharmacy, Kinnegad Clinics also in: Meath | Offaly | Dublin | Wicklow | Wexford | Louth | Monaghan