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Breaking the silence

Nikki Cleine woke up one morning when she was 34-years-old and realised she couldn’t hear herself speaking. Now, the Christchurch mother of three is sharing her story to help others hear again.



“I remember saying to my husband, ‘Did I just say that out loud?’ He said ‘yes’, and I realised I couldn’t hear myself. It was really shocking,” says Nikki, of that morning.

“I haven’t been given a reason for my hearing loss, it came out of the blue. I failed a hearing test in my early 20s, and it gradually deteriorated to the point where I became profoundly deaf.”

Nikki says her hearing loss had a significant impact on her work and family life.


“Think about how many people you talk and listen to in a day. I had a busy job as a customer service supervisor. [Plus] school activities, work life and my personal relationships were all affected.

“The kids stopped talking to me – they started talking to their dad. I had to leave my job and I was worried I’d never work again. Hearing loss is chronic and unrelenting. Every communication is a struggle.”

Only 40 adults receive government-funded cochlear implants each year, with more than 230 currently on the waiting list.

Luckily, Nikki was referred to the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP), and underwent surgery for a cochlear implant in 2011. SCIP is one of the two charities, along with The Hearing House (THH), which benefits from Loud Shirt Day.

The annual campaign raises funds and awareness for the charities, which deliver cochlear implant services to Kiwi children and adults.


“By the time I received my cochlear implant my confidence and quality of life were at rock bottom. Being isolated from life going on around you, and not being able to participate, makes it a very lonely world to inhabit.

“I no longer have to stand on the sidelines watching everyone else living and laughing because I’m right there with them.”

“The day my cochlear implant was switched on was one of the best days of my life,” says Nikki. “I could hear my kids. I had never heard anything my three-year-old said, ever.”

Loud Shirt Day is October 23, 2020. Find out how you can donate online.


At last! I can Hear Again!

During the recent COVID-19 lockdown, we experienced a huge change to our daily lives. The normal buzz of activities and work slowed to a more pedestrian pace and it gave most people a chance to return to a simpler, family life. That is, if both of your ears were working!



When your main activities are chatting to the family and watching TV, you very quickly realise how important your hearing is and how much we take this for granted.

While locked down, Hear Again received many calls from desperate people whose ears had become blocked with wax and had no options for getting this removed.

For some people, this meant a very frustrating several weeks wait until clinics were allowed to re-open and provide the relief they needed.

This resulted in many people saying, “At last! I can Hear Again!”.

Managing Director Steve Foster explains, “Wax production in your ears varies greatly from person to person”.

“Wax is your ears’ natural cleaning mechanism and is mostly made up of dead skin cells. Some people never have wax blockages forming, but for others it is a regular occurrence. This will not normally cause much of a problem until the ear canal becomes fully blocked, at which point it sounds like you have gone underwater in that ear! It is always best to have excessive wax removed before this occurs, as it is the difference between a routine and pretty urgent procedure.”

Hear Again can remove ear-wax easily and comfortably using the very latest micro-suction techniques.

This involves using a small vacuum tube to gently pull the wax out of your ear canal.

The procedure takes only a few moments and gives instant relief from a blocked ear. For anyone who has had ear syringing previously, this is very different; as it places no pressure or strain on your ear drum.

Ear blockages can also be things other than wax. Steve recalls, “We have removed many interesting things over the years: sand, insects, glitter, beads, seeds and even some 20 year old Play-Doh! Ear infections are also quite common and tend to stick around for many months if not treated correctly. These can cause itching or burning sensations in the ear and can result in a rather unsavoury discharge leaking out of the ear. Medication to cure these infections rarely work well if the ear is blocked with discharge, so removal of the blockage by micro-suction is the best way to prepare an ear for effective medication.”

The friendly team at the Hub in Hornby are happy to check your ears at no cost to see if you need them cleaned and the cost for two ears micro-suctioning is only $45. Include ear cleaning as part of your annual medical warrant of fitness.


Those hearing aids are sexy!

The team at Hear Again has been collectively solving hearing problems for over 50 years and thought they had seen and heard everything when it comes to hearing loss and hearing aids – until today! When being shown the very latest rechargeable, made-for-iPhone hearing aids, one of their longstanding clients exclaimed, “Man, those hearing aids are sexy!” This created a great laugh in the clinic: something which happens on a regular basis at Hear Again.


“Many people are really concerned about having their hearing tested and the thought of having to wear hearing aids,” explains Managing Director and NZAS Audiometrist Steve Foster. Because of this, the team at Hear Again are passionate about making the process a fun and enjoyable experience for you. “We hear too many complaints from people about feeling they have been treated as a number, rather than a person,” says Steve. “Never seeing the same person twice and feeling you are being rushed through a process which is an emotional thing for you is not comfortable.”
Director and General Manager Samantha Foster encourages anyone with hearing problems to not delay and have this checked. “A hearing check is free and takes only a few minutes to complete. We even open on a Saturday if you work during the week,” says Samantha.
“We have over 7000 very happy clients who have trusted us with their hearing care and regularly recommend us to their friends and family. We are incredibly grateful for the trust they have placed in us and do everything we can to ensure their ongoing hearing care is a pleasurable experience.”
And the new hearing aids really are sexy! With the ability to stream sound directly from your smartphone or a transmitter plugged into your TV, they become an almost invisible extension to your connected life; all for a great price, starting at only $495 assuming you are eligible for a government subsidy for hearing aids. You may even be entitled to hearing aids at no cost at all, depending on your work history, exposure to industrial noise or military service!
So, don’t delay: contact the friendly, fun and professional team at Hear Again at The Hub Hornby, and get your sexy on!

Listen Up!: Hear Again

There’s a special place to go in Hornby for anything to do with your ears and your hearing. It’s the Hear Again clinic right next door to the BNZ at The Hub.



The clinic is very accessible for people on the south side of the city with parking right at the door and convenient opening hours; Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm. No need to cope with traffic or parking in the central city and there’s even the option of a home visit if you can’t make it to the clinic. The goal at Hear Again is to make hearing care as easy as possible.

“We are a fully independent business based in both Christchurch and Auckland,” owner Steve Foster explains. “Hear Again Hornby is our newer clinic and we are delighted that the team there is led by NZAS Audiometrist Neil Hardisty. Being independent means we can help our clients with all makes and models of hearing devices and give totally objective, honest advice.”

The fundamental piece of advice both Steve and Neil offer is, “don’t hesitate to have your hearing assessed if you suspect there may be an issue”. Perhaps you might be experiencing a ringing or a hissing sound in your ears that you hadn’t been aware of previously. Perhaps you feel that people around you in a social situation are mumbling; or perhaps your family are telling you that your TV is turned up far too loud.

“These signs might indicate a build up of wax in the ear or they might indicate some level of hearing loss. We can carry out a free no obligation hearing assessment to determine what the issue is. If it’s wax, that can be removed safely, gently and painlessly with a microsuction machine. If we identify some other cause for the symptoms we can then begin the process of helping clients on to the road to better hearing by fitting the appropriate hearing aids.” Invariably the reaction from clients once those hearing aids have been fitted is, “I wish I had done this years ago; I am hearing so many sounds I haven’t heard for years from bird song to the lyrics of music”.

Steve and Neil say that at first all the unaccustomed sounds can be a little overwhelming, so part of Hear Again’s service is to prepare their clients for the change. They will initially set the hearing devices at a level where there is a definite benefit and then increase this over time. “Looking after our clients, really caring about their needs and offering a very personal approach is at the heart of everything we do at Hear Again. We look forward to helping you re-join the conversation and to ‘hear again’.”



Helping you hear: Hear Again

Samantha Foster, co-owner and General Manager of Hear Again says that in helping adults of all ages with their hearing, it is usually family members who first notice hearing loss in a loved one and urge them to have their hearing checked. “Clients often come to Hear Again saying ‘I’m fine, everyone just mumbles in my family’,” says Samantha “and then are amazed at the difference we can make”.


Hear Again


Technological advances mean it is now possible to have rechargeable hearing aids. “You charge the hearing aids up overnight, rather than changing batteries, which can be small and fiddly,” Samantha says. “Rechargeable aids are slightly pricier than the disposable battery hearing aids, but if dexterity or poor eyesight make coping with the traditional batteries difficult, then the rechargeable hearing aids are a real advantage.”

Rechargeable hearing aids bring the confidence that the aids will last a whole day and won’t leave you high and dry in a meeting. The hearing aids are simply charged overnight like a phone and then provide over 24 hours of continuous use. “We really recommend patients opt for the rechargeable hearing aids if they can afford the little extra cost,” Samantha says.

“Technology that connects hearing aids to an iPhone has been around for a while now, but it’s still not widely known,” she adds. “This type of hearing aid allows you to use your cellphone like a remote control; you can send the phone conversation audio straight to your hearing aid and you can always hear your phone ring if you are within 10 metres. The same technology can also be used to send the sound from your TV straight to the hearing aids, even if the volume is turned down or off for others in the family.”

If you suspect your hearing is impaired, the team offers free hearing screening for over-18s. They provide full diagnostic testing, or you can bring in the results of a hearing test you have had within the last six months and the Hear Again team can offer a second opinion. If hearing aids are indicated, a full needs assessment examines every aspect of your life and what you need your instruments to do. Your existing aids can be cleaned and checked, and ear wax removal is available for teens and up.

If hearing damage has occurred in your workplace or from military service, Hear Again can assess whether you are eligible to make an ACC or Veterans’ Affairs claim and help with that process. “Most New Zealanders are eligible for a government subsidy of $1022.22 for a pair of hearing aids and we can help you gain this,” Samantha says.

Hear Again has ensured it is easily accessible, with opening hours Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm. Located at The Hub in Hornby, patients come from all around Canterbury because they don’t have to travel to the central city and there is parking right at the door.



Hear Again

Something to hear about: Hear Again hearing checks are the first step on the path to getting back your hearing

Granny, Granny did you hear me?” Because most hearing loss occurs gradually, it’s not always apparent to you. Family and friends notice though, repeating themselves, waiting patiently as you talk over the top of them, looking confused as you try to guess the question they asked and then respond with a pretty random answer!

Hear Again

At Hear Again clinics you receive free initial hearing checks. The friendly and caring team understands that caring for your hearing is not just about running some tests and sending you away with hearing aids. If you do need hearing assistance, the team takes the time to listen to your needs and lifestyle, then works with you to provide the best and most comfortable solution.
Hear Again offers free demonstrations of the latest hearing technologies and they can fit a pair of high quality European hearing devices for as little as $495, providing you are eligible for a government subsidy for hearing aids.
Owner Steve Foster says, “We can assist with your claims to ACC or Veteran’s Affairs, and if you are a Southern Cross member, we can claim directly for you using their Easy-Claim portal. Hear Again can help with the full range of ear and hearing problems, from ear wax removal using micro-suction, to advice on tinnitus and hearing protection.”
Proudly 100 percent New Zealand owned and fully independent, Hear Again promises to offer the very best unbiased advice. To give you absolute peace of mind, they offer a six-week 100 percent money-back satisfaction guarantee on all hearing aids.
“If you already have a set of hearing aids that sit unused and unloved in a drawer, or you feel your current hearing aids are not doing the job they should, we’d love to see you,” Steve says. The company will service your devices and offer batteries and accessories.
With the simple goal of making hearing care as easy as possible, Hear Again has shopping mall-based clinics in Auckland and Christchurch where you can make appointments outside of office hours if needed. If you can’t make it to the clinic, the team can even arrange to come to you in your own home.
“We look forward to helping you re-join the conversation and ‘Hear Again’,” Steve says. Book a free hearing check with Hear Again, along with a free demonstration. Visit for details.