iHear! Mum is beat­ing deaf­ness with phone


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By SAM YAR­WOOD news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

I strug­gle to have a full con­ver­sa­tion with my hus­band. It’s lit­tle things like that I’ve missed out on Di Matthews

A MUM who has been deaf since her 20s will fi­nally be able to hear her daugh­ter’s voice prop­erly - thanks to an iPhone gad­get be­ing tri­alled in Manch­ester.

Hear­ing loss and tin­ni­tus has made Di Matthews’ life a ‘night­mare’ at times. But now the 41-year-old can con­trol her hear­ing through Ap­ple de­vices.

An im­plant em­bed­ded in her ear is con­nected to an in­no­va­tion called the Nu­cleus 7 Sound Pro­ces­sor.

With time, the tech­nol­ogy should not only en­able her to pick up a greater range of sounds than she would with hear­ing aids, but also al­low her to trans­mit phone calls and mu­sic to her brain through an iPhone or iPad.

The mum-of-one is one of the first peo­ple in the UK to test out the tech­nol­ogy, which was tri­alled at Manch­ester Royal In­fir­mary.

Di, who lives in Rotherham, South York­shire, has suf­fered deaf­ness for nearly 20 years.

“I re­mem­ber go­ing to the GP and him telling me I had a head cold,” she said. “It wasn’t un­til I went for an MRI scan that I found out I had nerve end­ing dam­age in my ears and my hear­ing has gone grad­u­ally year on year since,” she said.

“I did have bi­lat­eral hear­ing aids but I still found it hard and was re­stricted from do­ing so many things. “Work be­came in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult - my em­ployer has done as much as pos­si­ble for me - but it got to the point where I was won­der­ing if I could keep do­ing my job with­out an im­plant. “I’d go to my daugh­ter’s school as­sem­blies, I couldn’t hear any­thing that was be­ing said, but she could see me so she was happy. “I can’t talk to her about school on the drive home be­cause I can’t see her to lip read and the sound of the en­gine means I can’t hear. “I strug­gle to have a full con­ver­sa­tion with my hus­band. “It’s lit­tle things like that I’ve missed out on. “I shy away from phone calls and rely on emails, I can’t go to the pic­tures or theatre un­less it’s sub­ti­tled or spe­cial view­ing.” Di’s im­plant was switched on yes­ter­day but it will be sev­eral weeks be­fore she no­tices a ma­jor dif­fer­ence. Im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, Di was able to hear some speech but mainly a ‘morse code’ style sound which will be­come clearer in time as she ad­justs to the pitches and tones. She is also look­ing for­ward to fi­nally be­ing able to en­joy the mu­sic of her hus­band, Peter, a per­cus­sion­ist for Grimethorpe Col­liery Band, which fea­tured in the 1996 com­edy Brassed Off.

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