AFTER three decades of living in an almost silent world, a district councillor is learning to adjust to sound again after undergoing groundbreaking surgery.
Richmondshire District Councillor Linda Curran, 61, had become profoundly deaf – but after a cochlear implant in November she can hear birds singing for the first time in 30 years.
She said: “It’s amazing. I went to the pictures at Richmond Station the other night to see the Railway Man, it was my first hearing experience at a cinema for many years – and what a brilliant film to start with.
“But there are some disadvantages - the dog chewing her bone drives me mad and my husband turning the pages of the newspaper is so noisy.”
Coun Curran started to lose her hearing following a virus when she was in her 30s and over the years every hearing test showed a further loss of sound. The cochlear implant became her last hope of ever hearing again.
“It was very scary and painful but the end result is absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“I was getting to the point of not being able to keep up with the life I wanted to live. As a councillor I want to be able to talk to the residents of Richmond and help them – and I was struggling more and more to keep up at meetings.
“But now I am going to be like everyone else – life will be so much easier.”
She said she has the North East Cochlear Implant Programme to thank for her new-found hearing skills.
“I thought I was clued up about hearing impairments and disabilities but I didn’t know much about this wonderful team and how it can be accessed,” she added.
“I cannot praise them highly enough and I want other people to benefit like me.
“I didn’t realise how much I was missing out on until this month – and it gets better every day.
“My ambition for 2014 is to teach my brain to hear music again so that I can listen to the bands at Richmond Live.
“I am still getting used to hearing things properly and it takes a while to put a voice into focus.”
Contact the Cochlear Implant team on 01642-854068 or NECIP@stees.nhs.uk.