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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Hearing services




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:


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,
Dublin 7

You can email them at:

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.
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 or log on to for further information.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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