• Joanne Milne and cochlear implants

    Joanne Milne hears for the first time after having cochlear implants

    At Help in Hearing we know just how amazing hearing technology has become and just how much it has advanced over the years. But for Joanne Milne having cochlear implants has changed her world beyond belief hearing for the first time.

    Joanne Milne’s story shows just how much difference it makes to your life to be able to hear. Hers is an extreme case coming from absolutely no hearing, but many of our patients experience exactly the same revelation when their hearing, which has faded or been damaged, suddenly becomes clear and changes their quality of life.

    You can read Joanne’s story below and watch her video online.

    But remember a simple change to the hearing of your loved ones or friends can make a big difference to your personal and business life. A hearing test takes a short while to carry out and is carried out in complete confidence at one of our clinics.

    Joanne Milne’s story:

    Watch the video of the moment Joanne is overcome by emotion as she hears for the first time after having her cochlear implants switched on

    They are seven simple words we all take for granted.

    But as Joanne Milne heard her doctor recite the days of the week, she was overwhelmed with emotion, fighting back tears and gasping to catch her breath.

    Until that moment the 40-year-old’s world had been silent.

    Born with the rare condition Usher Syndrome, Ms Milne has been deaf since birth and in her mid-20s the condition claimed her sight

    But last month Ms Milne underwent a life-changing operation to fit cochlear implants.

    Following the procedure, she faced a four-week wait for medics to switch on the implants to see if the operation had been a success.

    Hearing for first time, a video capturing the switch-on shows Ms Milne breaking down as she tells her doctor her own voice sounds ‘very, very strange’, before adding: ‘Wow, it is absolutely amazing.’

    The doctor tells the 40-year-old, from Gateshead: ‘It is a big, big, life-changing day.

    It is such a huge thing you have just achieved, you should be really proud of yourself.’

    Ms Milne said the switch-on has been the ‘most emotional and overwhelming experience’ of her life.

    She said: ‘I’m still in shock now. I have to learn to recognise what these sounds are as I build a sound library in my brain.

    ‘Hearing things for the first time is so emotional from the ping of a light switch to running water.

    ‘I can’t stop crying and I can already foresee how it’s going to be life changing.’

    ‘I’m so happy. Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends… they didn’t have to tap my arm to get my attention which a massive leap.’

    Since she was diagnosed as deaf, Ms Milne has made it her mission to mentor others living with Usher Syndrome
    She added: ‘Being deaf was just who I was. Unfortunately when I became registered blind things changed dramatically and for the first time being deaf became increasingly difficult.’

    The breathtaking moment Ms Milne’s implants were switched on was captured on video and shared by Ms Milne’s friend Tremayne Crossley.

    Moved by her courage Mr Crossley applied for Ms Milne to appear on DJ Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6music radio feature Memory Tape.

    His application said: ‘Jo has recently had a bilateral cochlear implant in an attempt to restore her hearing, this is being gradually switched on over five sessions.The volume has to be increased slowly to allow the brain to adjust to the new information coming from the ears.

    ‘Jo told me about a guy who went grey over a one month period due to the shock of hearing how noisy the world actually is.

    ‘It was with this in mind that Jo asked me to put a playlist of songs together, songs that I thought she needed to hear or that would form an ‘Introduction To Music’ playlist.

    ‘I said it would be an absolute privilege but when I sat down to start I realised how monumentally difficult it would be, and what a responsibility.’

    Mr Crossley chose a song from each year of Ms Milne’s life treating her to Paul McCartney’s Silly Love Songs, Kate Bush Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), Prince’s When Dove’s Cry, Tracy Chapman Fast Car, Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Radiohead’s Jigsaw Falling Into Place.

    Taking to Twitter yesterday Miss Laverne told her 300,000 followers how Ms Milne’s story had moved her crew to tears.

    She tweeted: ‘Just watched a video of today’s #MemoryTape recipient having her cochlear implant turned on and hearing for the first time. Studio in floods.’

    Hearing the moving feature, writer Caitlin Moran tweeted: ‘@NadiaShireen @BBC6MorningShow @laurenlaverne You might as well call this the ‘Crying Uncontrollably At The Amazingness of Life’ Tape.’

    Listener Ingrid Bronsgeest said: ‘You do bring some magic to peoples lives @BBC6Music that #MemoryTape story is amazing. Sooo emotional but happy tears too.x’

    Cochlear Implant Accessories

    At Help in Hearing we offer a wide range of cochlear implant accessories, including the AquaCase waterproof swimming case.

  • Aquaid elephant pump

    Water cooler provides donation to The Africa Trust

    the-africa-trust-logoWe at Help at Hearing are aware that keeping our people hydrated will aid them to perform at their very best throughout the day. As a result, we decided to invest in water coolers from AquAid.

    Our unique relationship with AquAid has also given our organisation the opportunity to help those further afield less fortunate than ourselves.

    Our decision to install a water cooler from AquAid means that for each machine that we have, we have donated £20 per year per cooler to The Africa Trust. Through our contributions to The Africa Trust an ‘Elephant Pump’ is being installed in Africa on our behalf.


    This pump will bring much needed clean, fresh drinking water and improve the quality of life of those who will have access to our well.

  • Tinnitus Awareness Week

    Tinnitus Awareness Week

    Tinnitus Awareness Week will take place from 3-9 February 2014 across the UK.


    The week was created by the British Tinnitus Association to raise awareness of this problem which affects so many people.

    250 million people worldwide suffer from tinnitus and more than half of those don’t do anything about it.

    Tinnitus is characterised by sounds that are described as a continual whistling, ringing, pulsing or buzzing either in the head or in the ear(s).

    Listen to examples of Tinnitus here:


    There are many causes of Tinnitus and whilst sometimes they may remain unknown, excessive loud noise exposure, Meniere’s disease and general hearing loss are causes associated with Tinnitus. Stress is also known to be a contributing factor to increase the perception of Tinnitus.

    You can read our section on Tinnitus and devices we can supply that have helped other people, such as the Soundcure Serenade device and the Widex ZEN2GO device.

    In the meantime, here are some materials which may help your understanding of tinnitus. Please ask us for help if you or someone you know may be suffering from this condition.

    Download these resources from the British Tinnitus Association:


    pdf-iconTinnitus Facts and Statistics 

    pdf-iconTinnitus Research Update

    pdf-iconTinnitus Case Studies

    pdf-iconTinnitus – Heard But Not Seen

    pdf-iconTinnitus – Little Sounds of Pain

  • Clear Speech Guide

    Clear Speech – Making Conversation Easier

    Read this article and download the Clear Speech guide below.

    Communication is a two way street.

    With hearing loss your friends and family can help by adopting ‘Clear Speech’ techniques to help everyone cope.

    Clear Speech

    By talking in a clear and concise manner, we are able to produce definite changes to the pattern of speech. We can produce sounds more completely without missing certain elements or dropping word endings. Naturally, speech becomes slower and louder and the stress on certain words or syllables becomes more obvious. Combined with the fitting of quality hearing instruments, these changes are exactly what is needed for a person with hearing loss to improve their ability to follow a conversation.

    Communication is a two way street and you can help by reading this short guide which outlines easy clear speech methods.

    Download the Clear Speech guide here.