International singing star and actress Maureen Nolan has revealed her battle with hearing loss, as she launched a UK-wide search to find people who have triumphed despite their own hearing difficulties.

The multi-talented entertainer starting wearing hearing aids in both ears in 2011. On launching Specsavers’ Sound Barrier Star Awards, an initiative aimed at celebrating achievement in people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Maureen, 58, says: ‘I first noticed my hearing loss while lying in bed on my side and not being able to hear my husband. I had to lift my head off the pillow to hear what he was saying, and it dawned on me that I may have hearing loss’.

‘Hearing loss is something that runs through my family and is a subject that is close to my heart. 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.’

According to Colin Campbell, professional services director at Specsavers, Maureen’s hearing loss is a three forked problem stemming from high volume sound exposure, hereditary and age problems: ‘Maureen has varied hearing loss in each ear, the right ear has high frequency loss, while the left ear has loss across all frequencies and is more severe.

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 made, I didn’t realise how much I was missing out on. There is a perception that hearing aids age you, when actually it’s the opposite; straining to hear ages you.’

Sound Barrier Sound Awards

The Awards will be at live grand final in October 2013, and for every entry Specsavers will donate £5 to the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Hearing dogs helps transform the lives of deaf people by alerting them to sounds and allowing them greater independence.

Susannah Forkun, from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People says: ‘The Sound Barrier Star Awards are a great way to shout about the hard of hearing’s achievements. If you are thinking about nominating someone, please do give them the recognition they deserve.’

Maureen adds: ‘I’m so privileged to be involved in the Sound Barrier Star Awards – the courage shown by people who are hard of hearing or deaf is incredible, and helping such a brilliant charity while honouring these people is an added bonus.’


The Sound Barrier Star of 2013 will win a week long villa holiday for two people in the Mediterranean, including flights, courtesy of VillaParade. On top of this, they will also receive a £1,500 hearcare or £500 optic voucher from Specsavers.

One in six people in the UK have hearing problems. Anyone can nominate themselves, a friend or family member to enter the Sound Barrier Star Awards by visiting one of over 400 Specsavers hearing centres nationwide and picking up a nomination form, or downloading a form online at Entrants will be asked to explain why they deserve to win.

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