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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Hearing services

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Q: I’ve recently had trouble hearing, how can I get my hearing checked?

A: If you've noticed a problem with your own hearing, talk to your GP. Your GP may refer you to the HSE Community Audiology Service or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) service at a hospital. There is no charge to attend a public hospital outpatient clinic if you are referred there, including for people without a medical card.

The audiologist (a hearing specialist) or ENT specialist will examine your ear. They may test your hearing in different ways.

If the audiologist or ENT specialist decides you need a hearing test you can get a free hearing test if you have a medical card or are aged under 18.

Q: What if I need a hearing aid, is this free?

A: You can get a free hearing aid from the HSE audiology or hearing service if you:

• Have a medical card
• Are aged under 18; Children under 18 get free hearing tests and hearing aids
• Have a Health Amendment Act (HAA) Card; The HAA card is for people who contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood or blood products within Ireland

If you cannot get a free hearing aid, the Treatment Benefit Scheme can help with the costs of buying one. You need to have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

If you qualify for Treatment Benefit, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) pays the full cost of a hearing aid up to a maximum of €500 (€1,000 for a pair) once every four years. It also pays the full cost of repairs to aids, up to a maximum of €100, once every four years. The hearing aid may be provided by suppliers who have a contract with the DSP.

Under certain conditions, you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of purchasing a hearing aid. If you have private health insurance, your policy may cover all or some of the cost of buying a hearing aid. Check your policy for details.

Q: What types of hearing aids does the HSE audiology service offer?

A: The type of hearing aids offered by the HSE are:

Digital

Multi-channel (they can switch between different pitches of sound)

Multi-programme (you can programme them for different listening conditions or sound environments)

'Behind the ear' type

Q: Can I get my hearing aid serviced or repaired free of charge?

A: If you have a hearing aid from the HSE, you can post it to the HSE’s National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC) or you can use the walk-in service without an appointment. It is based in Dublin.

The NHARC offers advice on:
• How to use your hearing aid
• Any issues you might have with the hearing aid

If you are posting your hearing aid to the National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC), you should use a padded envelope and send it by registered post to ensure safe delivery. You should also include a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and client reference number and a brief description of the problem you are having with your hearing aid. It can take up to five working days for your hearing aid to reach them.

The address is as follows:
HSE’s National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC),
Audiology Services (Dublin North City and County)
Grangegorman Primary Care Centre,
Upper Grangegorman Road,
Grangegorman,
Dublin 7

You can email them at: audiology@hse.ie

The HSE has a list of other organisations that help and support Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing adults and children, and their families in Ireland.
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For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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30 years of Innisfallen Island MassThe annual special concelebrated Mass on Innisfallen Island takes place next week.

Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm. Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by […]

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Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm.

Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by Geoffrey O’Donoghue who sadly died four years after it began.

“There was an Augustinian Monastery on Innisfallen Island and the people, including priests and monks and they say Brian Boro, went out there to study. The lake, Lough Lein is called ‘The Lake of Learning’,” said his wife Mary who carries on the tradition in his memory.

“My husband Geoffrey was a descendent of the O’Donoghues and he wanted to have Mass on the island. The O’Donoghues built Ross Castle and owned the lands and the lake surrounding it which was later donated by John McShane to the people of Killarney. He [Geoffrey] asked one of the friars and one day he got a call from the OPW that there would be a plaque unveiled to John McShane and they asked if the Mass could coincide with it. It was attended by Sr Pauline, John McShane’s daughter.”

She added that all the public are welcome to attend. Boats, which will have a nominal fee to cover their costs, will be carrying passengers out from 4pm onwards.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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