When Simone Kirton was diagnosed as profoundly deaf, she was told by doctors the only option was a cochlear implant.
The sprightly 89-year-old was a suitable candidate for the surgery which involves implanting an electronic device in the ear, giving a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
However, she was repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the waiting list in Canada where she had lived for more than 60 years as more urgent cases came in.
When her nephew came to visit last year, he suggested she travel to England to have the operation done privately.
Last month Mrs Kirton underwent surgery to have a cochlear implant put in one ear at The Portland Hospital – a leading centre of excellence for the procedure.
The results were astounding. When the implant was switched on two weeks after surgery, she was immediately able to hear again.
Mrs Kirton said: “From the moment it was activated, I was able to hear sounds and within a minute or two was able to distinguish words.
“While this was certainly not like normal speech, it was far more than I had been anticipating.
“At each of my next appointments, adjustments will be made and in addition I will see a speech therapist to help with my language if necessary. I would say the operation was completely successful.”
Mrs Kirton says the care and attention she received at the Portland Hospital was second to none.
“It has been first class in every respect from the check-in to check- out. I was kept fully informed at every stage, very little if any waiting time and could not have been made more comfortable throughout my stay, short as it was. The same applies as an outpatient, never a long wait and my audiologist and speech therapist along with the audiology manager, all highly skilled, are like friends,” she said.
Mrs Kirton is one of a number of adults and children who have cochlear implant surgery at the Portland Hospital every year.
Last year the hospital carried out nine such procedures, four on adults and five on children.
Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Mr Jeremy Lavy who operated on Mrs Kirton said: "The timing of Mrs Kirton's hearing loss and her positive attitude made me very confident that she would do well with a cochlear implant.
“She is not quite the oldest patient I have implanted and I am delighted that she is doing so well."
For further information please contact The Portland Hospital's Audiology department on 020 7390 6573.