Deaf man waiting to hear first sound after successful operation

A MAN who has been totally deaf since birth is facing an month-long wait to find out if he will be able to hear for the first time.

Mark Ramsay underwent a complex cochlear implant at an Ayrshire Hospital at the weekend, and has been told it has been a complete success.

But doctors have to wait weeks before they can begin the process which will literally allow the volume to be turned up in Mark's life.

The 29-year-old, who was raised in Dalry, is recuperating at home in London with his fiance Charlotte Redden until he goes back to Crosshouse Hospital next month. His older brother Robert, 38 – who has spent years raising money and awareness for his brother's deafness – accompanied him to the hospital.

He said: "He totally sailed through the operation and that's the hard part over now. It was a complete success and now he just has to wait to go back, when they will nudge up the volume bit by bit and he will be able to hear.

"He's playing it all down at the minute because his fiance is deaf and he doesn't want to go on about it too much, but I know he's absolutely delighted inside."

Doctors will gradually adjust the volume in the tiny implant, which connects with a nerve in Mark's ear, over the course of a year to get it absolutely right, beginning with level one when he re-attends on December 12.

It has the capacity to go to level four, and the first setting should be enough for Mark to hold a conversation. Because of his previous deafness, even the quietest sounds are likely to be relatively alarming while his brain adjusts to the sensation. Liverpool fan Mark was greeted at the hospital last week by a large package sent by club captain Steven Gerrard.

Meadowbank-based Robert had contacted the club weeks ago and received a phone call from the England player paying tribute to Mark and promising to send a package, which included scarves, shirts, programmes and autographs.

"When we arrived he was more interested in that than he was the operation," Robert joked. "He's always wanted to hear You'll Never Walk Alone, the Liverpool anthem, and within a month he'll know what it sounds like.

"I got a phone call out of the blue a few weeks back and it was some guy with a Scouse accent – turned out to be Steven Gerrard."

Mark's fiance has plans to undergo the same treatment next year, which after some doubts and scepticism among health professionals and the deaf community, is beginning to emerge as a respected, safe procedure.

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