Thursday 15 November 2018

I'm slowly going deaf, Gaybo reveals

Breda Heffernan

GAY Byrne has revealed that he is slowly going deaf.

After more than half a century on the airwaves, veteran broadcaster Byrne (77) said the hearing in his left ear was completely gone and the right was deteriorating.

"I have to do something about it fairly soon," he said, after presiding over Ireland's first awards for the deaf and hard of hearing, run by Hidden Hearing in association with the Irish Deaf Society, in Dublin yesterday.

"I suppose I could blame 50 years of radio broadcasting and wearing earphones and all of that, but I don't think that's the reason. I think it's probably genetic because my mother had hearing difficulties, my sister had hearing difficulties and my three brothers. So that's the way it is, it comes with age."

Byrne said he had been heartened by the stories of the award winners.

"They just did not allow this disability to stand in their way . . . through all the years I've learned one thing and that is the value of quiet persistence. If you just keep plugging away, you have a dream and you have an image, you work towards it and it will work in the end," he added.

Among the winners yesterday was 12-year-old Sean O'Connor from Lisgriffin near Mallow, Co Cork. He has been hard of hearing all his life but was only diagnosed five years ago.

Sports-mad Sean, who plays football and hurling and has recently started horseriding, now has a hearing aid, which has transformed his life.

"It was very hard to listen to the coaches in my sports and then when I got the hearing aid I could hear them," he said.

Winner of the supporter award was Carol Dunworth, from Farranshone in Limerick, who has spent the past few years working tirelessly with her four-year-old son Jason, who has a cochlear implant.

"It has made a huge difference to his life," she said.

Irish Independent

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