Portadown’s ‘Golden Girl’ Dame Mary Peters was back in her home town last week to raise the profile of hearing loss - and help a business celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The former Portadown College student, who won gold in the women’s pentathlon in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, was the guest of honour of Mandeville Street business Hidden Hearing.
The 77-year-old chatted to customers and staff, including audiologist Richard Baxter, also a former College pupil.
In a short, informal address Dame Mary told them that hearing loss could leave people feeling isolated, and said anyone concerned about their hearing should have it checked out.
Hidden Hearing, a private health provider, offer free hearing tests to all ages.
Tests normally last for around one hour and Dame Mary, who had never before had a test, opted for a shorter version. The test, which included an examination of the ear canals and eardrums and an electronic assessment, was, said Mary, “totally painless”.
The good news for Dame Mary was that her inner ears were completely healthy and the slight hearing deterioration detected was consistent with someone her age.
She said, “Hearing health is one of those things that’s not always at the top of our health checklists. Sadly, an awful lot of people put off getting their hearing tested for so long it can have an impact on hearing rehabilitation.
“Research has shown this can also be linked to other issues like depression and dementia.”
Mr Baxter pointed out that once people reach 55 hearing starts to deteriorate through wear and tear, but that hearing loss isn’t confined solely to older people, with around four patients under the age of 40 tested in their shop every month.