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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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Trilogy of comedy on offer by Dóchas Drama

By Sean Moriarty Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week. All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week.

All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted out by the group’s members.

The opening act, ‘Flossing Around’ is written by Ger Madden and directed by Brian Bowler.

“A woman has an innate fear of the dentist. We go on the journey with her as she faces her fears, with hilarious consequences,” explained the group’s Liz Ryan.

This will be followed by ‘Faraway Hills’ which is written by Mary Quirke and directed by Michael Mills.
It is a tongue in cheek look at family life.

“A son wants to get away from small town life. His mother wants to keep him at home but his father can’t wait to see the back of him,” added Liz, who plays the mother in this short play.

Brain Bowler wrote the third instalment called ‘A Little Visitor’ which is directed by Ryan Jones.

“There are lots of misunderstandings when a hypochondriac visits a group of doctors who have other things on the their minds,” added Liz.

The run, which will feature all three performances each night, starts Wednesday next week and continues Thursday and Friday (February 8 to 10) at the Killarney Avenue Hotel. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door.

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Killarney secures three gold medals in national business awards

Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards. Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the […]

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Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards.

Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the hotel and catering sectors across the country.

This year, judges received over 460 entries from 150 hotels, guest houses, country houses, restaurants, cafés, bars and catering companies from around Ireland.

“An important factor in the Gold Medal Awards is the credibility and impartial nature of the judging process. Every property that undergoes this process is subject to benchmarking against a strict set of criteria and a blind site inspection conducted by the judging panel,” said an event organiser.

“This panel comprises respected industry experts from across the hospitality, culinary and catering sectors.”

Three Killarney hotels took top awards in different categories at the awards ceremony held at the Galmont Hotel and Spa in Galway on Tuesday night.

The Great Southern Hotel was named as the best Business and Conference Hotel in Ireland.

“To be recognised among the greatest hotels in Ireland is a marvellous achievement for Great Southern. It is fantastic news and has provided all our staff with a little morale boost. Our Business & Conference partners and customers are extremely important to us with some relationships in place annually for over 30 years. Receiving this recognition for the service we provide is a fantastic achievement and testament to the incredible work of our outstanding staff,” said Michael Jacobi Managing Director said.

The best front of house team award went the staff at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa.

In the Hotel Casual Dining Experience category the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens came out on top.

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