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Jennifer Tracey | 17:35 UK time, Saturday, 4 September 2010

Richard Bizley's School for the Deaf Class photo

Richard Bizley (boy on the far left) was born profoundly deaf. This is the class photograph from his first school for the deaf, aged four.

And this is Richard now in his gallery in Lyme Regis, Dorset.

Richard Bizley in his gallery

When a friend suggested he go for cochlear implant tests, he thought he was probably too old at 51 and that it was unlikely to work for him.

But he was wrong. I spoke to Richard six weeks after he'd had the implant 'switched on' and he can barely believe everything he's hearing. He's also astounded at what a noisy world we live in.

Richard was taught to lip read and speak orally as a child. His speech is clear and we had no trouble communicating, but Richard and I decided to use an actor alongside his voice where we felt it would be easier to follow on radio.

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Richard would also like to thank the staff at The South of England Cochlear Implant Centre at Southampton University.

If you've an idea or something you'd like to hear on the programme comment below, email ipm[at]bbc.co.uk or tweet it.


  • 1. At 9:49pm on 04 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    That was an absolutely brilliant interview. I was incredibly moved by it - really gave an insight into what it must be like to be deaf and how amazing it has been for Richard to hear things for the first time.

    So interesting to hear him speak about how "snake like" speech sounded to him and his use of words to describe things was quite poetic, eg. the "sparkling sound" of running water. It does sound "sparkly" but it's not an adjective I would ever have used. Also the sound of a satsuma being peeled is not something I've ever paid any attention to before or how noisy plastic bags are.

    Quite enlightening to learn more about the 'deaf community' too and how they resist the 'hearing' world. I'd wondered about that before and it was very thought provoking.

    Thanks very much to Richard for sharing his experiences - very special indeed and well done Jen.

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  • 2. At 4:31pm on 06 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    Are there privacy issues for the other 8 kids?

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