Sound Barrier Star Awards
International singing star and actress Maureen Nolan, who a member of The Nolans, has revealed her struggle with hearing loss.
On launching Specsavers Sound Barrier Star Awards, our nationwide search to find people who have triumphed despite their own hearing difficulties, Maureen has revealed that she now wears hearing aids in both ears after developing hearing loss.
Maureen, 59, first spotted she had a problem when in bed with her husband and couldn’t hear him speak when she lay on her right side. She says: ‘I had to lift my head off the pillow to hear what he was saying. I then started to feel a little lost in a crowded environment, straining to hear what people were saying. I was also asking for the TV to be turned up when everyone else could hear it.
‘With the launch of the Sound Barrier Star Awards I want to help people understand hearing loss and recognise those who have never let it hold them back.’
What a difference
Hearing loss is something that runs in Maureen’s family: ‘My brother, aunt and mother also suffer from hearing loss, they can relate to a lot of the problems I have encountered. Being in the entertainment business means I am constantly around people and often in noisy situations that were sometimes uncomfortable, having to nod along politely even when I wasn’t completely sure what was being said.
Once Maureen had her digital hearing aids fitted, she couldn’t believe the difference that they made: ‘I was genuinely shocked at the level of difference the hearing aids have made. I knew my hearing was bad, but I didn’t realise quite how much I was missing out on. Many people think wearing a hearing aid is a sign of age, but not being able to hear and asking friends and family to repeat themselves is far more ageing.
‘Since being fitted I couldn’t believe the number of people who have confided in me that they believe they have hearing loss, but have never had the courage to do anything about it.’
Support for Hearing Dogs
For every Sound Barrier Star Awards entry, Specsavers will donate £5 to charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Hearing dogs help transform the lives of deaf and hearing impaired people by alerting them to sounds and allowing them greater independence.
Maureen herself loves dogs and knows how important it is to celebrate those who have shown bravery to achieve their goals. She adds: ‘I’m so privileged to be involved in the Sound Barrier Star Awards – the courage people who are hard of hearing or deaf show is incredible, and helping such a brilliant charity while honouring these people is an added bonus.’