Wisbech grandfather of seven feels ‘alive again’ after turning on hearing for first time in 40 years

Bryan presenting flowers to Cherri.

Bryan presenting flowers to Cherri. - Credit: Archant

A deaf grandfather of seven from Wisbech says that he “finally feels alive again” after he had his cochlear implant turned on live on national television.

Bryan at Specsavers, Wisbech.

Bryan at Specsavers, Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

Bryan Underwood, 78, was one of the participants in Channel 4’s documentary ‘Breaking the Silence Live’, which allowed viewers to witness the reactions of a group of deaf people having their hearing restored.

Bryan, who was born deaf in one ear and suffered hearing loss in the other, told how he felt isolated from his loved ones and knew. He added that the insertion of the electronic hearing device, which stimulates the inner ear, was his only chance of being saved from complete deafness.

“Prior to the switch on I was a little nervous,” said Bryan.

“If it didn’t work I would be totally deaf as I was already deaf in my other ear.

Bryan Underwood and Cherri Wilson.

Bryan Underwood and Cherri Wilson. - Credit: Archant

“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.”

Most Read

Bryan has since visited his Specsavers audiologist, Cherri Wilson, at the Wisbech store for the first time since his operation to thank her for referring him to his local GP, which led to the television show.

“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,” added Bryan.

“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.”

Cherri said: “Bryan has visited the store every year for the past decade.

“He is a shining example of the enormous impact a cochlear implant can have on someone.

“Hearing loss is a normal part of getting old but it doesn’t have to eradicate your hearing altogether.

“No matter what age, young or old, it’s better safe than sorry and the implant provides a life-changing option for those about to lose their hearing completely.”

There are around 12,000 people in the UK using cochlear implants. Around 650 adults and 500 children receive one each year.