Pictured right at the revamped Hidden Hearing Clinic on John Broderick St. Athlone, from left to right : Cathy Power, Regional Manager, Fergal Stynes, Audiologist, Travis Gerber, Clinic Coordinator, Johané Mouton, Audiologist and Tom Owens, Audiologist

Bringing the future of audiology to Athlone

Hidden Hearing, renowned for its commitment to excellence in audiology, is revolutionising the field with the introduction of cutting-edge AI hearing technology. The company's clinic in Athlone is at the forefront of this advancement, offering state-of-the-art services tailored to individual needs.

With over 35 years of expertise, Hidden Hearing has continuously expanded its clinics and undergone refurbishments to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care. The Athlone clinic now stands as a centre of excellence, boasting a modern and inviting atmosphere designed to enhance the patient experience.

The recent clinic revamp in Athlone on John Broderick Street, Irishtown central, Athlone, has seen the introduction of advanced diagnostic audiology tools and personalised hearing care services, including the world’s first hearing aid with 4D user-intent sensors.

Tom Owens, an audiologist at the Athlone clinic, said: "The clinic revamp has greatly enhanced our ability to deliver exceptional care to our patients. The modern facilities and advanced equipment allow us to conduct thorough assessments and provide tailored solutions to address their hearing needs."

Hidden Hearing operates over 85 clinics nationwide. For more information, call Hidden Hearing in Athlone, located on 2A and 2B John Broderick Street, Irishtown Central on 090 647 0590 today or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Helping people at the core of Hidden Hearing team's mission

From left: Audiologists Tom Owens, Johané Mouton and Fergal Stynes. Photos: Carl Proctor Photography.

State-of-the-art equipment at Hidden Hearing on Athlone's John Broderick St allows audiologists like Fergal Stynes, Johané Mouton and Tom Owens to conduct comprehensive assessments and tailor treatment plans to each patient's unique needs.

Audiologist Fergal Stynes has been working with the company for the past 20 years and has seen a lot of change over the years.

Mr Stynes decided to become an audiologist as his father experienced hearing problems from a young age. “When he became older in life, we would notice that he'd be leaving the room," said Mr Stynes.

"If things got noisy or if there was any background noise or stuff, he'd just leave the room and I was wondering why was he doing that?” Mr Stynes said that his family later discovered that their father was hard of hearing in his left ear.

The Kildare man added that clients normally avail of Hidden Hearing's services once they notice an issue hearing someone while having a conversation which is where the clinic's free hearing screenings come in. He said that the majority of people with hearing loss would have to turn up the volume on their TV and are unable to hear someone else speaking when there's a lot of background noise.

Fergal Stynes decided to become an audiologist as his father experienced hearing problems from a young age.

“Usually, it's family members that notice the issue first,” said Mr Stynes. He added that in most cases hearing loss occurs later in life. “There are some instances where younger people have been coming into us, especially from the nearby college here, because we've noticed from the wearing of AirPods and things like that, some people now are noticing that they're getting ringing in their ears if they're wearing them too long.”

Mr Stynes feels that there is now more of a culture of people looking after their overall health by getting their hearing and vision tested regularly. He said that the stigma that hearing loss is an older person's issue has slowly died off in recent years.

The feedback he receives from clients is that they are very grateful for the service. “We've had people who have been so appreciative that they would send notes at Christmas and say thanks so much for your help.”

Mr Stynes continued: “Not all people realise that our hearing tests are free so they might come in with a little bit of apprehension, but after I meet them and I explain to them how hearing works, what their hearing loss is, because everyone's is different, they have the information and they go off and think about it.”

Mr Stynes advised that if you experience sudden hearing loss you should contact your GP but if it's happening steadily over time, you should contact Hidden Hearing.

Along with providing free hearing tests, Hidden Hearing also uses a handheld otoscope which enables audiologists to examine inside the ear with a small camera.

Fellow audiologist Johané Mouton from South Africa has been working in Hidden Hearing Athlone since January this year and said that she always wanted to help people.

Audiologist Johané Mouton said audiology was always something that tugged at her heart.

“I like the therapeutic aspect of the job but I also like the fact that it's quite clinical and it's very detail orientated.”

Ms Mouton studied Clinical Audiology in South Africa and worked there in a hospital for a year. She recently received great feedback from one client who was a huge nature lover but couldn't hear the sound of birds singing anymore and after getting hearing aids, he could hear them again.

“That is something that really stood out to me and a lot of people will just tell you that they withdraw socially because it's so difficult to follow along in a conversation and getting that back and being able to participate in conversations and just to continue with their social life, that's a very big thing.”

She also likes building relationships with her clients, saying: “there's a few people that I've seen multiple times already and it's lovely to see someone and to build that relationship with them and work with them to get the best outcome.”

Speaking about why she decided to become an audiologist, Ms Mouton said: “Audiology was something that tugged at my heart. I knew someone who was an audiologist, so I went to observe with her and just the emotional connection that you can make with people and being part of that and being able to give someone a part of their life back was really something that spoke to me.”

Ms Mouton feels that hearing loss is a very personal thing. “With everything in life, it takes a lot of courage to do something about anything like that but if you are considering or if you feel that there might be something wrong with your hearing, the best thing that you can do is phone in, get a free hearing test.”

Tom Owens, Audiologist.
Cathy Power, Regional Manager, Hidden Hearing.
Travis Gerber, Clinic Coordinator

Say goodbye to earwax woes!

Hidden Hearing offers the latest in Wax irrigation and micro suction services, with regular wax clinics available at the Athlone town clinic. Some people may think they have a hearing loss; however, you could just have a build-up of earwax.

Symptoms of hard or impacted earwax can include sudden or partial hearing loss, tinnitus, a feeling of fullness in the ear, or earache. It is also difficult to perform a proper hearing test when there is a build-up of earwax.

Normally valued at €70, but to readers of this edition of the Westmeath Independent, this service will now be provided free of charge to individuals over the age of 55. Bookings for the earwax clinic are available exclusively by appointment only and can be made by calling the clinic directly & quoting code: CAUG-1. Readers, take advantage of this limited timed offer that will end on April 30.

Both manual wax irrigation and micro-suction are pain-free procedures, which can be completed in minutes. Micro-suction is a safe and quick method of earwax removal, also used to remove foreign bodies from the ear canal, the hearing specialist says. This simple and effective treatment uses a medical suction device and a microscope to see directly into the ear canal, and no liquids are needed at all. Wax acts as a self-cleaning service for ears, protecting the sensitive ear canal from things like bacteria and debris that can cause infection. Apart from damaging the sensitive inner ear, cotton buds, fingertips or hair grips can cause impacted wax, as can regular use of bud earphones, earplugs and even hearing aids, it seems.

Singer Daniel O’Donnell supports the new Hidden Hearing campaign ‘Keep Being You’, that aims to educate the public on the importance of taking care of their hearing & ear health, just as they would look after their teeth, eyesight, blood pressure or cholesterol.

Hearing aids with seamless connectivity

Available at Hidden Hearing clinics across Ireland, from April, the Oticon Intent hearing aids has seamless connectivity. It quickly and easily connects to smart devices, including phones and TVs.

Described as ‘BrainHearing’ by manufacturers, Oticon, the hearing device facilitates sensor-driven hearing. A simple double-tap to the ear will answer the wearer’s phone, and end calls, using the AI enabled hearing aids like a wireless headset. As well as streaming directly from smart devices, a remote microphone can be connected too, to wirelessly stream someone’s voice to the Intent hearing aids.

Speaking about the new AI hearing aids, Audiologist Fergal Stynes, commented: "The introduction of the Oticon Intent marks a significant milestone in audiology. Its innovative technology not only prioritises important sounds but also adapts to the wearer's intentions, providing a truly personalised hearing experience."

Johané Mouton was also very complimentary of the new AI hearing aids. She remarked: "The seamless connectivity and intuitive functionality of the Oticon Intent make it a game-changer for individuals with hearing loss. It empowers wearers to engage confidently with their surroundings, improving their overall quality of life."

Full, all-day battery life is packed into the small, discreet Oticon Intent design. A 30-minute boost charge gives 8 hours battery life alone. The hi-tech hearing aids come in nine colours to match skin tone, hair or personal style, and they are supplied with a dedicated app for personalised support and settings, as well as device tracking.

Client testimonial

Athlone client Dermot Sheriff said: “My Audiologist, Fergal, was very friendly, professional and took the time to make sure I was satisfied with my hearing aid. I would have no hesitation in recommending him and Hidden Hearing to others.”