Leeds teenager with cochlear implants witnessed deaf children given gift of hearing on trip to Africa

A LEEDS girl who was profoundly deaf before undergoing cochlear implant operations in Bradford has told of her life-changing trip to Africa where she witnessed four children having their hearing restored.

Georgia Green, 15, met the four Malawian children – all deaf after suffering malaria or mumps – during a visit to the hospital planned to coincide with their cochlear implant surgery.

Georgia, of Rawdon, met the children and their parents for the first time the day before the operations and was able to reassure them and tell them what cochlear implants meant to her.

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Voluntary medical teams from Bradford and Fife have been working in collaboration with the ear nose and throat staff at the hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, for a number of years.

Georgia Green with Malawian children who underwent cochlear implant operations and their families.

But last month’s visit was the first time the cochlear implant surgery and audiology was carried out by the Malawian team.

Surgeon David Strachan, who carried out cochlear implant surgery on Georgia at the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary, oversaw the operations in Malawi.

Georgia said it was emotional when she met the children after they had their implants switched on.

Georgia said: “Judging by their reactions to being able to hear again, I can totally appreciate how life-changing this is going to be for all four of them.”

Georgia Green at home in Rawdon.

Georgia visited a school in Malawi and met nine-year-old Daniel, who had previously undergone cochlear implant surgery.

She said that the visit to the school left her only too aware of how necessary it is for Malawian children to be able to hear

Georgia said: “There were 180 children and one teacher crammed into one room.

“There were no books – the children were just sitting cross-legged on the floor listening to the teacher.

“I now realise just how lucky we are in our country. I know I’ll never take anything for granted again.”

Mr Strachan said: “The team are so grateful to the Med-El Company for donating the implants, and are especially proud that Malawians are now able to carry out such surgery.

“Having Georgia there, who has herself benefited from this technology in the past, was very special.”

Georgia was born completely deaf and could not hear or speak a word until after her first cochlear implant in her right ear when she was two years old.

At five years old, Georgia had a second cochlear implant in her left ear.