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Sound sense of a check-up on my hearing

HAVING dropped a tonne of money some years back over a troublesome right ear it's long been on my 'to do' list to get myself one final hearing check to put my mind at ease.

In spite of these good intentions and persistent reminders from my mother, I've been procrastinating about sorting out this simple task.

The fact that hearing tests are available for free from some providers is incentive enough for most of us who are either of a certain age (the young and the more mature) or those like me who are in-betweeners with a nagging feeling that needs to be addressed once and for all.

With this in mind, I took myself off to Hidden Hearing on Middle Abbey Street (they have 65 branches nationwide) where a simple test was carried out by audiologist Noel Cullen.

Adjusting television and radio volumes upwards is a really obvious indication that you might need to get tested but Noel pointed out some less obvious signs, for example sometimes when people dominate social conversations, particularly if they are slightly older, this is often because they are aware of some hearing loss.

By talking continuously they don't have to strain to listen and lip read and risk other people noticing their hearing loss.

Yet with the tests now so simple and accurate and new age hearing aids so small that they are barely noticeable, one has to wonder why 70pc of Irish people leave it more than a year to seek treatment for their hearing loss and 28pc leaving it more than five years to seek treatment.

Vanity is apparently a factor here and Noel says that men are more guilty of this than women. Now that Coldplay's Chris Martin has gone on the record about his tinnitus (a direct result of his exposure to such loud music) perhaps we'll all be a bit braver about taking action.

My own results were heartening as I tested normal -- in fact my previously troublesome right ear, which caused me to visit two consultants, have an MRI and pay for a hearing test, is now slightly better than the left ear.

All this peace of mind cost me was my time plus it has decongested my to-do list.

For more information check out hiddenhearing.ie.