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Conor Pope on being deaf for a day

19 May, 2016
When Conor Pope, the Irish Times’ Consumer Affairs Correspondent, visited Specsavers last month he had his eyes (and ears) opene
When Conor Pope, the Irish Times’ Consumer Affairs Correspondent, visited Specsavers last month he had his eyes (and ears) opened to hearing loss

When Conor Pope, the Irish Times’ Consumer Affairs Correspondent, visited Specsavers last month he had his eyes (and ears) opened to hearing loss and the impairment that many people over the age of 60 live with.

Conor visited Specsavers Liffey Valley, where he was seen by Audiologist Orla Walsh. Whenever Conor is in Specsavers for a routine eye examination he would also have his hearing checked, admitting that his hearing is almost perfect. However, this time visiting Specsavers Audiologist Orla was all in the name of research.

Becoming deaf for a day

Orla spent ten minutes fitting a green putty inside Conor’s ears with the aim to not make Conor totally deaf but for him to experience what it might be like for somebody suffering from hearing loss, completely unbeknownst to them.

Conor’s own aim was to highlight the lack of awareness surrounding hearing impairment and the remedies available. As he explains, hearing loss is a common disorder affecting about one in four people aged between 65 and 75 and half of those over 75. The cause? Age related changes in the inner ear, the middle ear or along the nerve pathways to the brain.

Eye opening experience 

Conor describes the day as “terrifying” and one he will never forget. Everything from his balance, to talking on the phone, engaging with people in work and crossing the road was affected and impaired. He says the ‘colour’ – in an audio sense – had been drained from his day to day life.

By the time Conor returned to Specsavers Liffey Valley to have the green putty removed from his ears, he is more than ready to have his hearing restored. The experience leads the Irish Times correspondent to encourage all those to keep their hearing in check and to book into one of Specsavers Hearing Centre at the first sign of deterioration.

To read Conor's full experience

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