Mother-of-three Louise Windsor was born deaf and has spent the last four decades in virtual silence.
Now, after surgery to install cochlear implants – small devices that are fitted beneath the skin that provide a sense of hearing to a person who is deaf – she is able to hold conversations again.
The 41-year-old, from Bristol, is overjoyed at being able to hear birds and music for the first time – but admits she gets irritated by other things.
She has even started complaining that her husband Mark, 41, has the TV on too high a volume and chews his food too loudly.
A touching video captured the moment Mrs Windsor’s cochlear implants were turned on.
A doctor asks ‘Can you hear your own voice’ and she replies ‘yes’, appearing calm.
‘Does my voice sound any different?,’ her husband Mark asks.
She pauses for a moment, then turns her head away from the camera, overwhelmed with emotion.
As she bursts into tears, a doctor hands her a tissue and she wipes tears from her eyes.
‘I can hear now,’ she says ‘I can pick up on things.’
Cochlear implants cannot restore normal hearing but they can give a deaf person a good representation of sounds, helping them understand speech.
Mrs Windsor, a dinner lady, said:
‘I can hear birds outside, I can hear an aeroplane and even my dishwasher.
‘It’s emotional hearing my husband’s voice. It has changed my life.
‘At first it was hard and took a while to get used to people talking but now I can hear most things.
‘I’ve always lip read so I still do that naturally.’
Her husband says while he is thrilled his wife can hear, he is already being told he eats too noisily – and has the TV up too loud.
‘If you’re eating a packet of crisps it does her head in,’ he said.
Now we find she is the one telling us to keep it down – when I have Coronation Street on she’ll turn the volume down.’
Mr Windsor said it was a special moment when they left hospital and she could hear for the first time.
‘We were sat outside having coffee and she could hear birds in the trees and a car 200 yards away.
‘Everyone – friends and family – are all so pleased for her.’