Author(s): Jo Milne
Imagine for a moment that you have never heard the voices of those you love, the music on the radio, the sound of birdsong at dawn nor the persistent passing traffic on the road you walk down. Now imagine that the lips that you have watched moving, the faces that you have smiled at, the words that you read in front of you all slowly start to disappear too. It's hard to comprehend isn't it? Jo Milne had already lived a lifetime surrounded by silence, profoundly deaf from birth, when she began to lose her sight. Just before turning thirty, Jo was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic and progressive condition that will one day rob her of her sight altogether. Although at this lowest ebb, Jo suffered from deep depression, she has always been determined to live her life to the full. Jo has never let her disabilities affect the way she embraces life however there was always so much that she was missing. In 2014 she made a life-changing decision to undergo major surgery. She had cochlear implants fitted allowing her to hear for the first time. Every moment of Jo's days since the operation has become a journey of discovery. She has been able to hear the voice of her own mother who has stood by her and helped her through some of her darkest moments. She has heard birds sing, people chatting and the sound of children laughing. She is embarking on an incredible journey through four missed generations of music - from the hymns she missed in school assembly to sweeping orchestral performances, from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to the music of this very moment and everything in between. Breaking the Silence is a remarkable and beautifully written memoir that will serve as an inspiration to everyone who reads it. By turns, heart-breaking and heart-warming, it is the incredibly uplifting life-story of a woman who refused to give up hope and always lives life with a smile upon her face.
A remarkable and inspiring memoir from who having been deaf from birth had an operation that enabled her to hear for the first time at the age of 39.
Joanne Milne was born in Gateshead in 1974. She was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 16 months old but it wasn't until she was 29 that she was registered as blind and found to have Usher Syndrome. In 2014 she underwent a cochlear implant operation which gave her the ability to hear for the first time. Her story was picked up by the world's media and the clip of her implants being turned on was viewed by more than four million people. Today Joanne travels the country as a mentor for deafblind people.