Bryan Underwood, 78, has spoken about the life-changing moment when he had his cochlear implant turned on live on national television.
The grandfather of seven said he felt like he is ‘finally alive again’ and credits Wisbech store director Cherri Wilson for recognising that he would be a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant, which can ‘turn on’ sound for the profoundly or entirely deaf.
Bryan, who was born deaf in one ear and suffered dramatic hearing loss in the other, knew that the insertion of the powerful electronic hearing device, which stimulates the inner ear, was his only chance of being saved from complete deafness.
He said: ‘Prior to switch on I was a little nervous. When the switch was flicked, I didn’t suddenly have super-hearing but after not being able to hear my family laughing and my wife’s voice for so long.
'I can’t explain the effect that even the smallest noise makes. I finally feel truly alive again.’
Praising Cherri for her help, Bryan added: ‘If it wasn’t for Cherri I wouldn’t even know what a cochlear implant was, let alone be given the opportunity to experience the change myself.
‘If I can encourage one person to go and get a hearing test then I’ll be happy. If you are hard of hearing, please don’t assume just because old age is knocking there’s nothing that you can do. It could change your life.’
There are currently approximately 12,000 people in the UK using cochlear implants.