Mum-of-two Jacqui Thorpe went without being able to hear for 16 years but after failing to hear her own granddaughter, she decided to seek private treatment and her hearing has now finally returned
A mum-of-two who believes she became hard of hearing due to the trauma caused by her husband’s death 16 years ago can finally year again.
Jacqui Thorpe suddenly lost most of her hearing when her husband Paul Thorpe died in 2005 after suffering from a brain tumour.
The impairment started affecting all parts of her life, from her job in sales which she lost, to her interaction with people, for which she mainly relied on her daughter to assist, Yorkshire Live reports.
Despite seeking help from the NHS on more occasions, Jacqui, 54, says she was never given a reason for her hearing loss.
The lack of help over the years pushed Jacqui into denial and in a bid to communicate with people, they would have to speak loudly and open their mouths as they spoke so she could lip read.
It was only when she was unable to hear her four-year-old granddaughter Felicity that she decided things had to change.
“I lost my partner 16 years ago – 17 years in January. It was a traumatic experience, it took everything from him,” Jacqui said.
“I gave up everything for him, I just had to do it to look after him and I knew the outcome wasn’t good. It was an aggressive tumour.
“I was also let go from my job.
“I think it was due to trauma, I think it stemmed from that. When my hearing got worse, I thought a lot more people are going through worse so I brushed it off.
“No one really helped me, they sold me stuff that wasn’t going to work.
“I’ve been to the NHS, I can’t tell you how many hearing tests I’ve done.”
Jacqui continued: “Everywhere I went with my daughter, I wouldn’t go on my own, I couldn’t talk to people.
“I didn’t want to talk because I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. There’s only so many times you can say ‘sorry I can’t hear you’ without someone getting annoyed.
“I was with my four-year-old granddaughter, I said you’re going to have to wait when we got to school, I said I can’t hear you, she got out of the car and said ‘I said you were poorly last week, I hope you get better and I love you’. I cried all the way to work, I couldn’t hear my own grandchild speak.”
After being let go from her job, Jacqui started her own business and now teaches dog grooming at Snoots Dog Grooming Training as she wouldn’t need her hearing much.
Over the years, business partner Kelly Joyne and her son Ryan Thorpe would continue to encourage her to get her hearing fixed.
But after going through assessments for years, Jacqui believed she would never find a solution.
However, following a private hearing test, she was offered some small hope when she was implanted with the SYNCHRONY 2 cochlear implant and received the MED-EL RONDO 3 audio processor.
After two years of assessments at the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service (YAIS) at Bradford Royal Infirmary, Jacqui’s journey to regaining her hearing began.
Jacqui had surgery around 16 December 2020 and by December 31, she got her hearing back.
She said: “I’d been let down for 16 years, so I was pretty sure I was going to be let down again but when I was told I could have the MED-EL cochlear implant, I was happy, nervous but also a little sad.
“I’ve been to NHS hearing tests, as soon as I walked into the building (BRI), they knew how much I struggled but they had to go through the process.
“When I was offered the implant I was taken back.”
Speaking on her new career, Jacqui added: “I don’t know if I would have been where I am today in my dream job as a dog groomer if it wasn’t for my hearing loss.
“After I was let go from my old job in 2005, I wanted to find something where I wouldn’t struggle if I couldn’t hear.
“Dogs tell you how they’re feeling by wagging their tail and I love dogs, so this seemed like a perfect fit!
“I’m just now about to enter my first dog grooming competition on my own just because I can, and I don’t have to depend on anyone else.”