DeafHear Regional News

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Hearing aids help save sailors’ lives!
Posted: 17th July 2015 Christine Bowden: Hearing aids help save sailors lives!
Christine Bowden

At DeafHear we are always encouraging people to seek treatment for their hearing loss as early as possible.

We know that people wait an average of ten years before seeking help with an acquired hearing loss, and research is showing that this delay has longterm negative impacts on the individuals and their families.

These negative outcomes include increased cognitive decline, stress on personal relationships, social isolation, and reduced benefit from hearing aids.
On the other hand, early intervention improves quality of life, personal relationships and social participation.

And you never know just who might benefit from someone who has got support for their hearing loss! As reported recently in the Hearing Times, two sailors in difficulty off the Cornwall coast in England owe their lives to a lady who had recently got hearing aids fitted!

One in three people aged over 65
have a significant disabling hearing loss
as defined by the World Health Organisation.


Christine Bowden, 77, had only had a hearing aid fitted 24 hours earlier after spending the last few years of her life almost unable to hear. The pensioner was sitting in the garden when she heard desperate cries for help while trying out her new hearing aids. Her actions saved the lives of two capsized sailors who were marooned half a mile out to sea.

A retired secretary, Christine was using two new hearing aids she picked up the previous day. “I was virtually deaf before and had them for less than 24 hours. If it had happened the day before I may not have heard them shout - and who knows what would have happened.”

According to the HSE almost
250,000 people in Ireland
have a significant hearing loss.

“I was out in the garden when I heard one of them scream for help,” she continued. “My property is on the hill that looks down to the beach and I just heard this voice shouting for help. It was persistent. My husband Marcus and I got the binoculars out and saw the upturned dingy. We couldn’t see any bodies but still heard this man calling for help. So we phoned 999 and got through to the coastguards and the RNLI sent the boats out.”

Husband Marcus, 68, a retired marine engineer, said, “I kept telling her to get hearing aids. Thankfully she finally listened to me.”

The two middle aged sailors were on holiday in Looe, Cornwall. Rescuers found one man close to exhaustion and suffering from hypothermia clinging to the hull of the upturned dinghy without a life jacket. The second man was rescued while trying to swim ashore in a life jacket. He collapsed when the crew got him back to dry land and was treated by a doctor before an ambulance arrived.

“I kept telling her to get hearing aids

…earlier will not necessarily save lives, but in most cases will certainly improve them!” he said.

Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Information points out that some aspects of this story are typical of what happens when people acquire a hearing loss later in life. “While this story has a happy ending, it is notable that her husband remarked that he kept telling her for years to get hearing aids. We know that getting hearing aids earlier will not save lives in most cases, but it will certainly improve them!” he said.

Source: Hearing Times, Tuesday 9th July 2015


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more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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