Blind and deaf pensioner, 103, gets life-changing operation so he can hear again


Leslie Hodgson was ‘cocooned in a world of silence’ before getting his cochlear implant. The ‘remarkable’ pensioner is the oldest person in the world to receive the implant

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Pensioner gets record-breaking operation to fix his hearing

A ‘remarkable’ pensioner has become the oldest person in the world to undergo a life-changing op so he can hear again at 103.

Registered blind, and totally deaf, Leslie Hodgson was ‘cocooned in a world of silence’ before the cochlear implant.

He walked into the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, 97, years after his first ear operation in 1925, to ask for the procedure after researching how it could change his life.

Then he broke two world records. He became the oldest person in the world to receive a subtotal petrosectomy which cleared the lining of his ear to help him hear again.

And he is also the oldest ever to receive the implant, which helped him regain his hearing for the first time in ten years.

It was the perfect birthday gift as the retired architect was first seen by his surgeon on his 103rd birthday.






Leslie Hodgson has become the oldest recipient of a cochlear implant in the world

Next, he is determined to try another pioneering procedure to tackle his blindness.

Thanking hospital staff, Leslie, of Penrith, Cumbria, said: “Next year I want stem cell treatment for my eyes.”

Noweed Ahmad, consultant surgeon at the South Tees Hospital Trust, described Leslie as a ‘remarkable man’.

He said: “He has shown that you are never too old to have a cochlear implant. It can be life-changing.”

After his hearing deteriorated, Leslie had ‘been trapped in a cocoon of silence’ made worse by blindness. “He has no family left and he used to communicate with friends through the telephone but he could not any longer,” added Mr Ahmad, an ear, nose and throat specialist.






He had his operation at the age of 103

Deafness is the second most common disability in the UK. One in six of UK adults have a hearing loss and many suffer in silence.

“Only five percent of people in the UK who could benefit from a cochlear implant are estimated to have received one.”

The implant is a prosthetic device that uses electrical stimulation to provide the sense of sound, surgically implanted behind the ear.

Leslie’s first ear operation in 1925 was a mastoidectomy, done with a hammer and chisel.

He is also registered blind and can only see things when they are very close up.

Due to his age, the implant was done under local anaesthetic.

It meant he was awake for both ear operations, with much less time to complete the procedures for Mr Ahmad. Leslie then returned to the hospital to get the implant ‘switched on’.

Ruth Cole, audiologist at the trust said: “It sounds very strange at first as it is an electrical stimulus and this is new information for the brain to try to make sense of. Conventional hearing aids, which Leslie wore previously, only use an acoustic stimulus.

“When switching on a cochlear implant, some people just hear beeping noises. Speech sounds like a robot or a cartoon character.

“The brain has never heard the complex speech signals as electrical information before. Leslie can now hear some environmental noises and speech sounds.

“It will take time for his hearing levels and the clarity to improve. We hope this will enable Leslie to communicate with those around him again and feel connected to his environment. ”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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