Pontefract woman who went deaf after husband died of cancer has regained her hearing 16 years later

A woman who went deaf due to the trauma of losing her husband to cancer has regained her hearing - 16 years later.

Jacqui Thorpe pictured with her late husband Paul

Jacqui Thorpe, 54, developed severe tinnitus and was ‘profoundly deaf’ in both ears following the death of her husband Paul.

Her condition deteriorated rapidly and even hearing aids failed to cure the condition.

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As a result, Jacqui lost her sales administrator job and resorted to learning lip reading to communicate.

Jacqui Thorpe

She tried various implants over the years but nothing worked and eventually made the brutal decision to live with the pain.

But now, after 16 years of agony, the gran-of-six from Pontefracthas been 'given her life back' after being fitted with an NHS cochlear implant.

Jacqui said it has changed her life and that she can now enjoy simple pleasures like "hearing the birds again".

She said: "My hearing loss must have been because of the trauma I've been through and the upset.

Jacqui Thorpe pictured after surgery

“My tinnitus got worse and worse but I tried to carry on and just get by. Throughout the 16 years, I've tried and tried and cried out for help but no one could help.

“Eventually I was given the chance to get the cochlear implant, but I had mixed emotions because it’s an operation. But I knew it could be life-changing.

“It was my only hope so I went for it and I'm so glad I did. It was amazing and a huge success

“I love listening to the birds now, my indicators, my sat-nav. I’m now independent, more confident and much happier, it’s amazing.”

Jacqui said her world was turned ‘upside down’ after her husband was diagnosed with a grade 5 aggressive brain tumour.

She quit her job to care for him but, after a nine-month battle with the disease, Paul died in January 2005 aged 39.

Jacqui said seeing cancer take everything from her husband, who she described as "strong" and a "Jack the lad", was traumatising.

She added: “I was scared but I really didn’t moan about the hearing loss because I needed to hold myself together.

“But I’d lost my husband, my best friend, my children’s father - I was heartbroken.

“The audiologist I spoke to said to me after my hearing test how on earth are you managing? He told me I was profoundly deaf in both ears and that it was high-pitched loss, which was very rare at my age."

Jacqui spent nearly £3,000 on hearing aids that didn’t work and she lost her job because she couldn’t hear over the phone.

She decided to make a change in 2019 after taking her granddaughter to school one morning and not hearing a word she was saying.

The private audiologist referred Jacqui to a team in Bradford who offered her some hope after suggesting the Synchrony 2 cochlear implant and MED-EL RONDO 3 audio processor.

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing.

The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.

After two years of assessments at the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service (YAIS) at Bradford Royal Infirmary, Jacqui was finally able to have surgery.

On Dec 16 2020 she went under the knife, and by the New Year, she had regained her hearing back.

Jacqui said she is telling her story to try and raise awareness for a silent disability.

She said: “Living with hearing loss is a silent disability which people are rude about and make fun of - but it certainly is not funny.

“It took me 16 years to be understood. I cried and cried and cried.”