Hidden Hearing dispenser Paul O’Hara has told of how an unexpected phone call led to a chance meeting with a world-renowned political leader.
Paul was spending a Saturday night at home when he received an unexpected call from a Professor at Queens University College Belfast who received Paul’s details from an ENT consultant at Hillsborough Private Clinic.
American Senator George Mitchell - the man who chaired the talks that led to peace in Northern Ireland - had just touched down in Belfast to participate in the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Senator Mitchell suffers from severe hearing loss and the airline he was flying with lost his luggage which contained his hearing aids. With a busy schedule, including meetings with various high profile former political figures such as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Bertie Ahern, the visit was going to prove very difficult for Senator Mitchell without his hearing aids.
The Former Chair of Negotiations was also scheduled to deliver a keynote address at Stormont and attend a film screening as the guest of honour and really needed hearing aids if his stay was to be successful.
Paul O’Hara, who has been a Hearing Aid Dispenser with Hidden Hearing since August 2017, was happy to oblige Senator Mitchell and met with the Senator after discussing this with the Senator’s wife, Heather.
Paul conducted a full audiometric hearing test on Senator Mitchell to establish his levels of hearing loss and recommended the hearing aids that would work best for the Senator during his brief trip to Ireland.
Paul was only too happy to assist Senator Mitchell and said: ‘It was an honour for me to be honest, he was a driving force behind peace in this country and it meant I could enjoy my childhood, and my children can enjoy theirs without seeing all the bad things we saw during the troubles.’
Senator Mitchell told Paul that without his hearing aids he simply cannot hear and had considered cancelling all his engagements as he would not have been able to decipher the conversations going on around him.
He was fitted with state-of-the-art, rechargeable digital hearing devices, Oticon Real- an intelligent new hearing solution designed to help people to hear the real sounds of life with clarity and comfort.
With his hearing restored, the Senator was able to attend all his engagements and went on to deliver a powerful address at Stormont.
He said the Good Friday Agreement gave ‘the possibility of hope. This is an agreement for peace for the future, not just for here but for everywhere. We need people who believe, who know that the possibility exists within the impossible – don’t let it slip away.’
Hidden Hearing is Northern Ireland’s leading hearing care expert with 13 clinics located in all major cities. Each year, Hidden Hearing conducts over 15,000 free hearing tests as part of the company’s plan to make hearing care accessible for all.