GREAT-grandfather rejoices as he hears again at 91 after going deaf as a CHILD.
Great-grandfather Raymond Kelly beams with pleasure every time he hears the newest addition to his family giggle – and even the crying of the nine-month-old baby does not bother him.
Until he became the oldest person to get a state-of-the-art ear implant, Raymond, 91, could not hear the simple sounds that most of us take for granted.
Now he says his greatest pleasure is being able to hear his 10 grandchildren, whose ages range from nine to 31, and two great-grandchildren – the other is seven years old Raymond, of New Malden, south-west London, lost his hearing as a child. He was offered an operation at seven but his parents turned it down, fearful of the risks involved. Over the years his hearing deteriorated until he stopped bothering to go out because he could no longer hear what was going on in the hubbub of voices.
But a two-hour operation to fit a new type of cochlear implant at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, in south London, has transformed his world. “It has changed my life,” said Raymond, a retired British Aerospace worker.
He used to draw intricate technical illustrations for Concorde, and other airliners, for publication.
He added: “Now I can hear my family’s voices, listen to the radio and birds singing.”
Despite his hearing loss, Raymond was not deterred from living an active life. He joined the Air Cadets during the Second World War and went on to have a 25-year career in the aircraft industry.
He said: “It used to be so frustrating having to get people to write down what they wanted to say to me. I was always very sociable but I stopped going out because I could no longer hear what was going on.”
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device placed under the skin which, although it cannot restore normal hearing, can provide a sense of sound to someone who is deaf or very hard of hearing.
The new design is much thinner than previous models and provides better hearing quality and less disruption from background noise.
Raymond’s wife Olivia said: “Last year we were referred to St George’s to see if Ray was suitable for an implant.
“We were all a bit nervous about the operation but he’s made a good recovery. I can’t believe the high standard of expertise at the hospital. Everyone’s been amazing.”
St George’s is a center of excellence for the surgery. Ear, nose and throat consultant Rob Harris, who performed the operation, described Raymond as a “real character”.
He added: “We’re lucky that we have a great team from across many clinical areas to carry out these complex procedures.”
Source: The Express
Image credit: SWNS
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