A MAN who suffered with hearing loss for over 20 years is enjoying the sound of birdsong once again after having revolutionary surgery.

Matthew Gould from Worthing is the first person in Sussex to have had a special implant inserted - and he says his hearing has been transformed since the procedure.

The 54-year-old has been on a long journey to improve his hearing, after learning that he was going deaf at about the age of 30.

The engineering manager's friends and family were often having to repeat themselves several times, and large meetings were often difficult.

Talking about his first doctor's consultation, Matthew said: “It was the first time I’d heard the word ‘deaf’.

"Up until then, I’d been saying ‘hard of hearing’, so it was a bit of a shock for me.”

Matthew spent many years wearing hearing aids in both ears, but his hearing in his left ear was deteriorating too much for it to help.

He was offered the chance to have a new ergonomic implant - and despite being the first person to undergo the surgery in Sussex, was not deterred.

Matthew had the device implanted in February last year at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, and says it has helped him every day since with sharper and more balanced hearing.

He said: "The implant has helped make my hearing more balanced and provides a sharper sound.

"I find that it picks out sounds that the conventional one did not, including quieter sounds, like birds singing.

"Although it does take a little while for your brain to adjust, it is comfortable to wear.”

The implant, known as the Med-el Bonebridge, works by being fully under the skin but does not leave an open wound.

It picks up the sounds around the person and then sends them to the inner ear through the bones of the skull, bypassing damaged outer and middle ears.

Manuel Loureiro, the audiologist who led on Mathew’s implant rehabilitation, said the device is a "massive step forward" for patients in Sussex.

He said:"We are now in a position to offer a range of options to rehabilitate the hearing of many patients who would otherwise struggle with communication in their daily lives, and our patients no longer have to travel large distances to access this technology.”

Professor Bhutta, who led the implant surgery, said: “Hearing loss is often called the hidden disability – the consequences of poor hearing on mental and even physical health can be severe and under-appreciated.

"Many patients with hearing loss will benefit from conventional hearing aids, some from surgery to reconstruct the bones of hearing or eardrum, but for the small number that don’t, it is great to be in a position to offer these newer technologies.”