Nov 2017 Kent online

An 83-year-old woman who had gone deaf has been given the gift of hearing after successfully lobbying doctors for life-changing surgery. What began as a tale of frustration for Audrie Jackson at being told she was “too old” for the operation that could allow her to hear again became a story of incredible fighting spirit. Mrs Jackson, of Northfleet, was positively beaming as she told how her life had been turned around. “I started going deaf in 1991 and eventually it went completely, but no one seemed to want to know,” she said. “Actually I didn’t speak for six or seven years because I was so deaf I couldn’t even hear my own voice. I used to be in the choir at St Botolph’s Church but I had to give it up as well. But my mother lived until 96 and I thought, why should I go another 15 years or so in a world of silence?”

In order to have a chance of regaining her hearing, Mrs Jackson required a cochlear implant, but one doctor said her “age was against her”. Nevertheless, she was insistent that she should give it a shot and her persistence paid off, as she eventually found people willing to listen at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. “You should have seen my face when they turned it on,” she recalled. “I cannot thank all of those staff enough, they are all wonderful. The doctors, the surgeons, the nurses, even the man who brought me tea. They have given me my life back and I can’t stop talking to people.
I can hear the toilet flush, I can hear the washing machine, I can hear the microwave, this morning I could hear the traffic.”

Mrs Jackson is still getting used to being able to hear again and so her ability to lip-read remains useful but her hearing is improving and seeing her excited about being able to hear her microwave and washing machine certainly puts things into perspective. The surgeon who performed Audrie Jackson’s cochlear implant says the devices should be available to everyone who needs one.

 
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