Over 12 million people watched the poignant video of the moment that 39 year old Jo Milne's cochlear implants were switched on allowing her to hear for the first time in her life. She became an internet sensation and a world-wide news phenomenon and attracted support from Lauren Laverne, Caitlin Moran and India Knight. This is her extraordinary life story.
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 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 condition that will progressively affect her eyesight too.
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.
Watch Jo hear for the first time here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyDdVJ81Ixs
A quietly devastating book about disability and a moving memoir about growing up in a warm and loving family... At the heart of the book is the experience of what it is like to hear for the first time... Her book will inspire us. Jo is a remarkable woman and a wonderful writer, and Breaking the Silence demands to be widely read. - Mail on Sunday
The book is so beautiful, the story is so wonderful. - Lauren Laverne
A fascinating insight into the challenge of living with a disability. - Scotsman
extremely moving - Sunday Express
Her memoir of a life lived in light and darkness, silence and sound, is bright with her courage and humanity. - The Times
One woman's inspirational story that will make you appreciate your sense like never before. - The Sunday People
How a woman born deaf took the gamble of her life and escaped a world of silence...The joy of the piano. The echo of her footsteps. Even the hum of the fridge. How one woman's inspiring story will make YOU appreciate the sounds you take for granted. - Daily Mail
An incredibly moving and inspiring story - Evening Chronicle
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 Jo is an ambassador for deaf children and leads a 'changing perceptions of hidden disability' campaign. She is also a columnist and regular radio and tv spokesperson.