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Deaf couple hear each other for the first time in 12 YEARS of marriage

21 February 2017 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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This is the emotional moment a deaf couple hear each other’s voices for the first time in 12 years of marriage - after their cochlear implants were switched on.   


Neil and Helen Robinson have both been deaf since birth and have communicated through sign language, lip reading and failed attempts at using hearing aids.   


But they have become the first-ever couple to receive cochlear implants at the University of Southampton Audiology Implant Service (USAIS).   


The emotional moment the devices were first switched on was captured on video - with Neil, 50, at first joking that he didn’t like the sound of his wife’s voice.  But he added: ‘I am getting used to it now. It felt incredible, in a happy way. It felt really emotional.’   


Amazingly, Neil reckons his new-found hearing could have saved his life after stepping out of the way of an oncoming car after hearing it before he saw it. The couple, who live near Salisbury, Wiltshire, were born deaf due to both of their mothers contracting rubella during pregnancy.   


Despite their audio impairment they have lived full and happy lives - they have raised a son, and Neil is an Assistant Curate at Salisbury Cathedral.   


Helen, 54, tried for two years to persuade Neil to have an implant and he finally agreed after frustrating attempts at using hearing aids.   


They first underwent surgery by Tim Mitchell, a consultant Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon at the Nuffield Health Wessex Hospital in Eastleigh, Hampshire.  The implant consists of two parts that sit on the inside and outside of the skull just above the ear and are joined by a magnet.   


Information from the processor on the outside of the skull is sent to 16 electrodes on the inside, which then send electrical pulses to the brain.   


The devices were switched on at the centre in January and they were tested with sounds such as a beating drum and a musical triangle.   


The implants will now have to be fine-tuned and it is not clear how much hearing they will eventually recover.   


USAIS has fitted 1,000 of the gadgets since opening in 1990 but this is the first time they have been supplied to a couple.   


Cochlear implants were originally thought to only benefit people who had recently lost their hearing and already had speech and language skills. 

 

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