A father who was left with severe hearing loss following a vicious assault, has had his hearing restored, thanks to a life-changing donation.
Jeff Alcock, 46, from St Leonards, was on his way home from a work function in April 2017 when he was assaulted by a colleague at Lewes station.
The father-of-three said: “He punched me, and I fell to the floor banging the back of my head, he then kicked me in the front of my head.
“When I woke up, I found myself in a hospital bed, apparently after having spent three days in a coma and with two skull fractures.
“I then spent four days in the Critical Care Unit.
“When I came to, I was heavily sedated and couldn’t even remember that my wife was pregnant, and I had no sense of taste or smell.”
The attack happened while Jeff’s wife Lauren was in hospital experiencing complications with her pregnancy.
A week after returning home from hospital, Jeff realised the assault had seriously affected his hearing.
He said: “In August 2017, I was told that I had 80 per cent hearing loss in my left ear and 20 per cent in my right and that it was permanent.”
When Jeff returned to work a couple of months later, the financial consultant admits he struggled.
Jeff said: “My sales figures were significantly down, and my colleagues just didn’t understand – they often took the mick out of me.
“They didn’t mean to upset me, but it did affect me, especially my self-confidence.
“I found it difficult to communicate with clients and colleagues, especially when using the telephone, which was a big part of my job.”
Jeff decided to have a hearing test after his son Beau was born in June 2017.
He said: “I didn’t hear the telephone the day after he was born – it was ringing with my wife to tell me that Beau had been admitted to the Special Care Unit with some complications.
“As a result, I missed out on being there for my wife and baby at such a difficult time.
“My neighbour finally managed to wake me, and I made it to the hospital early the next morning. That was one of hardest moments I’ve ever had to deal with.”
Jeff was given hearing aids by the NHS, but they weren’t great quality, so he approached Hidden Hearing in Hove.
After being touched by Jeff’s story, the firm awarded him with free pair of digital hearing aids as part of Hidden Hearing’s Give Back Campaign in support of the National Campaign for Better Hearing, which aims to help raise awareness of the importance of having annual hearing tests.
Audiologist Bruce Cruickshank, who nominated Jeff, said: “Jeff’s hearing loss is quite a unique case, but because his loss happened so suddenly, it was important to fix it sooner rather than later, to ensure he didn’t miss out on important moments in his life. Many people ignore their hearing problems until it’s too late, which can affect their health and quality of life.
“This campaign is a great initiative and we’re encouraging everyone in the area to get a free hearing test at a Hidden Hearing centre.”
Jeff said: “I was completely gobsmacked when I found out I had won. Being fitted with my hearing aids was really emotional – I could hear my wife properly again and for the first time ever, my baby son Beau. I was very tearful, it was such an amazing experience.”
Jeff, who has since started a new job, said: “If you have difficulty hearing, you can get it sorted. Hearing is a priority and is life-changing.
“I’m so grateful to Hidden Hearing for giving me the opportunity to hear again, I have a huge smile on my face now, with tears rolling down my face.
“I’ve been through so much and to have one of those negatives turned into a positive means a huge amount.”
Each month, Hidden Hearing donates up to five pairs of hearing aids, one for every 1,000 free hearing tests it carries out nationwide.
For more information on hearing loss or to book a free hearing test visit www.hiddenhearing.co.uk or call 01273 746500.