As Senior Fellow at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Barry directs research on environmental and sustainable development issues around the world, particularly in developing countries
He is married with two children and two step children and as a keen climber, he has already scaled the likes of Snowdon, Mont Blanc and, most recently, Kilimanjaro. He now has his sights set on reaching the summit of Everest and has put plans in action to accomplish this in June of 2014.
If he achieves this, Barry will become the second British sexagenarian (after Sir Ranulph Fiennes) to have summited the highest mountain in the world. In doing so, he aims to raise a significant sum to support the work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust. When Barry was a boy, he was inspired by his father’s tales of his exploits in WW2, where he worked alongside Gurkha comrades who he deeply admired.
Barry is involved in a rigorous training programme which will see him climbing regularly over the next couple of years in Snowdonia and the Lake District, and undertaking trips to the Alps and Himalayas to climb at progressively higher altitudes - all in preparation for a planned attempt at Everest in 2014 - subject to securing funding.
"Had a wonderful trip and climbed several alpine peaks including Petite Fourche (3520m) above the Glacier du Tour and then summitted Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248m; 13,937ft) - a sister peak to Mont Blanc. - see my website http://steps-to-everest.yolasite.com/mont-blanc.php. Bad weather (thunderstorms, 40cm fresh loose snow drop and severe avalanche danger) prevented us attempting the main summit. When I got home I learned that several people died on the same route that day. But I didn't see them or hear about it whilst there."
Three years ago, he suddenly realised he’d gone deaf in his left ear and, after a number of tests, was prescribed a hearing aid by his audiologist. However, Barry found it ‘irritating’ and didn’t think it fitted properly so after a year of wearing it, he left the device off.
The visibility of hearing aids is the main cause for the stigma attached to them. For women it’s a cosmetic issue, for men it’s a virility problem. The worst situation is in restaurants/ pubs where everyone is talking – too many confusing sounds. He said the noise was “horrendous.”
Additionally, an external hearing aid doesn’t work when climbing as it gets in the way of all the headgear (e.g. goggles and ear protection) as well as the altitude causing the batteries to quickly die.
He was informed about Lyric - a revolutionary new hearing device that is fitted directly into the ear canal, close to the ear drum, and is worn 24/7 – only requiring to be changed every 4 months, and has since been fitted with the device.
In July Barry returned from climbing Mont Blanc and reported that the hearing aids worked really well with no buzzing or whistle feedback and no interference with the headgear. A real success!
Could this be the answer to the problem? We will keep you informed of his progress or check on his web site.
The audiologist who fitted Barry's hearing aids was Selma Becker and her clinic is called: Help In Hearing, - see web site for information: www.helpinhearing.co.uk