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Omagh woman’s luck changes as she finally regains her hearing thanks to Campaign for Better Hearing

Campaign for Better Hearing Recipient 

Joanne Gibson, a 38-year-old Mother of 3 from Omagh, Co Tyrone unknowingly suffered with hearing loss since she was in her teens & also suffered from a sharp ringing sound in her ear. Joanne not only grew up with impaired hearing but she also has Freiberg’s disease. She was diagnosed with this rare condition as a child and has gone through life in pain & with a limited range of motion. The exact underlying cause of Freiberg’s disease is currently unknown.

Joanne said “There isn’t much awareness of Freiberg’s disease and not many people would know about it – I have lived with it all my life and I had radiation treatments for it and all sorts but this November I’m having my leg amputated and I will be getting a prosthetic. As a family we are not lucky, my husband has battled cancer and works hard for me and our three girls. When I got Wayne’s phone call that I had been chosen as part of Hidden Hearing’s Give Back Programme, for the I cried. It was something I knew I couldn’t afford and I’m so happy it happened. Nothing much ever happens for me and this news was amazing’.

Audiologist Wayne Harris from Hidden Hearing nominated Joanne for the Give Back Programme.

Wayne says; “Joanne has a 48% loss on her right hand side and it is what we call a mixed loss – it’s really limiting her when her children have been calling her or when the phone rings – or if someone is speaking to her where she can’t lip read. Socially it would have been difficult too for her because she would have needed to move and adjust where she was sitting to be able to hear people as her right ear only has a small loss. All in all – I think with what Joanne has gone through in her life with how she has managed to date is amazing. I’m very grateful that I’m able to give a person like Joanne improved hearing and a better chance in life.”

Joanne says; “From this experience I have learnt regardless of what you have going on – the worst thing anyone can do is leave something carry on like I did my hearing. I should have found out about that ringing noise and had my hearing seen to sooner. I just felt I had enough going on in my life living with Freiberg’s that I just didn’t want to know if anything else was wrong. I’m happy I have now. I heard my daughters talking behind me for the 1st time – they usually need to tap me on the shoulder and speak louder to me face to face, I heard Stewart whisper to them just a while ago, I can hear the rustling of the paper on the table and I can hear car noises on the street and the birds. These new hearing aids are truly amazing. I can’t even believe the immediate difference it has made.

About Campaign for Better Hearing & Give Back Programme
Free hearing testing is available in the 14 state-of-the-art Hidden Hearing clinics throughout Northern Ireland, as part of the “Campaign for Better Hearing” which was launched earlier this year by Daniel O’Donnell and Majella O’Donnell, proud supporters of the Campaign for Better Hearing. The campaign aims to improve the hearing health of the communities around the various Hidden Hearing branches in Northern Ireland. Education and information in relation to prevention and treatment, as well as hearing aid technology, is also part of the year-long hearing health campaign.

Around *30% of hearing loss in Northern Ireland is untreated, for various reasons; an element of which is the perceived stigma at wearing a hearing device.
*In fact, 1 in 4 adults in Northern Ireland suffer from at least a mild hearing loss. By the age of 55, 1 in 7 people report a significant deterioration in their hearing and this rises to 1 in 3 by the age of 65.

In the region of 100,000 people may be risking the knock-on physical and psychological impacts of untreated hearing loss, which recent research has shown to include social isolation, depression, dementia, diminished heart health and stroke.

The Give Back Programme, which is an integral part of The Campaign for Better Hearing sees all branches of Hidden Hearing nominate a member of the community to get a free pair of hearing devices fitted. Hidden Hearing want to drive the message of the importance of good hearing and improve hearing health in those who they feel need it because life is worth hearing.

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