Pioneering operation restores Ulverston woman's hearing

The Westmorland Gazette: Josephine Sandham Josephine Sandham

AN ULVERSTON woman has had her hearing restored in what was the first operation of its type in the North West.

Josephine Sandham, 74, who was ‘profoundly deaf’, is now able to have conversations with her family and friends after becoming the first person in the region to have a cochlear implant under local anaesthetic.

“The surgery is typically carried out under general anaesthetic, but unfortunately, due to Josephine’s health and respiratory difficulties it was decided that this would be too dangerous,” said a spokesman for the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where the procedure was carried out.

“The device was inserted under local anaesthetic for the first time in the North West.”

Surgeon Simon Lloyd decided to go ahead with the surgery last month, and the implant was ‘switched on’ on November 29 – Mrs Sandham’s 74th birthday.

“I was very frightened when I found out I couldn’t have the general anaesthetic,” said Mrs Sandham, who also suffers blindness in her right eye and has only limited sight 50 in her left.

She added: “Because of my problems with my eyes and my hearing, before the operation I felt like I was in my own little world.

“It’s been amazing and I’m so happy I had it done. I would recommend it to anyone.”

The cochlear implant, which is surgically implanted within the inner ear, allows recipients to recognise sounds and speech by stimulating the ‘hearing’ nerve and subsequently the hearing part of the brain.

Surgeon Mr Lloyd said: “‘I’m so glad that we were able to implant a device for Josephine and give her some hearing back.

“Because of her poor vision it was all the more important that we could do this and the local anaesthetic procedure went extremely well.”

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