Friends of inspirational Joanne Milne have captured the moment she heard her music for the first time after a lifetime of white noise.
Born deaf, and now registered blind, it has taken 40 years for Joanne from Low Fell, Gateshead, to finally get her wish after medics this week flicked the switch on her cochlear implants.
After undergoing surgery last month, Joanne had an agonising four-week wait to find out if the operation had been a success.
But as the sounds of John Lennon’s Imagine filtered into the room, she was able to hear for the first time what music sounds like.
She said: “The switch-on was the most emotional and overwhelming experience of my life and I’m still in shock now. I have to learn to recognise what these sounds are as I build a sound library in my brain.
“Hearing things for the first time is so emotional from the ping of a light switch to running water. I can’t stop crying and I can already foresee how it’s going to be life changing.” The operation also means Joanne has been able to hear her own – and others’ – voices for the first time. She said: “I’m so happy. Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends,,, they didn’t have to tap my arm to get my attention which a massive leap.”
Born deaf, Joanne started to lose her vision in her late 20s due to the rare condition Usher Syndrome. Since her diagnosis she has selflessly made it her mission to mentor others living with Usher. She added: “Being deaf was just who I was. Unfortunately when I became registered blind things changed dramatically and for the first time being deaf became increasingly difficult.”
When she discovered she was going to have the operation, Joanne asked her friend Tremayne Crossley, from Washington, to make her a compilation of songs as she had always wondered what music sounded like. Tremayne selected a song from year of Joanne’s life, and sent his compilation to radio presenter Lauren Laverne for her BBC 6Music radio feature Memory Tapes.
An Introduction to Music playlist, including When Doves Cry by Prince, Common People by Pulp and One Day Like This by Elbow, was played out on the show yesterday. DJ Lauren Tweeted: “Just watched a video of today’s #MemoryTape recipient having her cochlear implant turned on and hearing for the first time. Studio in floods.”
What is on Tremayne’s Memory Tape? An Introduction To Music includes:
Ken Boothe – Everything I Own
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – She’s the One - Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Paul McCartney – Silly Love Songs
Joni Mitchell – Black Crow
Steely Dan – Peg
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky
Gary Numan – Are ‘friends’ Electric?
The Specials – Do Nothing
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
The Jam – Town Called Malice
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Prince – When Doves Cry
Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
The Smiths – Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
Fleetwood Mac – Big Love - Live (Lindsey Buckingham solo acoustic version)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
The The August & September
Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
Ozric Tentacles – Sploosh!
INXS – Baby Don’t Cry
Nirvana – All Apologies
Richard Thompson – King Of Bohemia
Pulp – Common People - Full Length Version / Album Version
Everything But The Girl – Missing
Foo Fighters – Everlong
Massive Attack – Teardrop
Jimmy Eat World – For Me This Is Heaven
The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist
Daft Punk – Digital Love
The Streets – Turn The Page
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC
Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Elbow - One Day Like This
Maximo Park – Tanned
Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters
The Joy Formidable – Whirring
Bat For Lashes – Laura
Haim – Don’t Save Me