Specsavers in Donegal offering free hearing aids
Specsavers is pledging to test and screen a quarter of a million people over the next two years, as the audiologists encourage people to claim free hearing aids under exciting new PRSI changes.
To celebrate the new benefits, which sees thousands of people qualify for free hearing aids at Specsavers, the opticians and audiologists is making this April, Healthy Hearing Month.
Specsavers Donegal Town and Letterkenny audiologist, Martina McNulty, said: “With one in six Irish adults affected by hearing loss, we are on a mission to break down the stigma often associated with hearing loss and start having a more honest and open conversation about this important health issue.
“Unfortunately, the perceived cost of hearing aids and outdated stigmas can deter people from seeking help and they do not realise the life changing benefits they can offer. This is why we are launching our Healthy Hearing Month with a pledge to test and screen over a quarter of a million of the Irish population. By launching this long-term campaign, we hope to turn up the volume on hearing health and inspire people to be more proactive.”
Research commissioned by Specsavers revealed that almost half of Irish adults (47%) regularly worry about losing their hearing, yet only 25% of people would act quickly (within a week) if they noticed a change in their hearing. And 69% of Irish adults have not had their hearing tested in five years.
Fears relating to cost (62%) was the biggest deterrent to wearing hearing aids. However, this no longer needs to be a concern for many thanks to the changes introduced to the PRSI treatment benefits.
Following changes to the PRSI scheme by the Department of Social Protection, those eligible for the benefit can now avail of a pair of hearing aids up to the value of €1,000 or put their PRSI contribution towards the cost of a more expensive pair of hearing aids at Specsavers.
Even with a Medical Card, many will also have PRSI entitlements which would make them eligible for a free pair of hearing aids. With hearing aids available from just €600 at Specsavers, this is the very first time people can claim free hearing aids under the scheme.
Throughout the pandemic, Specsavers audiology customers really noticed how much they relied on their hearing aids to remain connected during a time that forced people to be apart.
Ms McNulty said: “Hearing aids ensure connectivity to friends, family and the outside world. We saw how important this connectivity was throughout the pandemic. Hearing aids were a lifeline for people who were forced to isolate, not able to see people so relied on phone calls or the comfort of radio and TV.”
Hearing aids are far more than being able to hear clearly. Untreated hearing loss can have far-reaching implications beyond hearing with links to feelings of depression, frustration and anxiety.
During this most recent lockdown, almost a third (29%) of over-65s have been found to be feeling lonely, with 39% of them finding it difficult to stay in touch with loved ones, according to Specsavers research.
Ms Nulty said: “Seeing the positive change that hearing aids have on a person’s daily quality of life is what makes this job so worthwhile.
“While this campaign is launching in April, we are committed to raising awareness in the long term and it’s vital that we all help to keep this important conversation going.”
More information about using PRSI Treatment benefit entitlement available at Specsavers, is available at local stores or at www.specsavers.ie/hearing/hearing-aids/prsi-treatments-benefit
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