Disability Voices

Foster, Valerie. Unheard Voices: interviews with deafened people

  • Add a note
    Log in to add a note at the bottom of this page.
  • All notes
  • My notes
  • Hide notes
Please click to leave a note

The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »

Tags (top 25):
(No tags found for this item)
  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Hearing Loss

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    The City Inn Hotel, Bristol

  • Interviewees

    Foster, Mary Valerie, 1928- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Pennell, Stephanie, 1948- (speaker, female)

  • Transcribers

    Jacobie, Julia (Speech-To-Text Reporter - Palantypist, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Valerie Foster [VF] born 1928 in Wrexham. VF has three children, good relationship with her parents, who both died in their 70s. Lived in Preston, father used to drive the family to the Lake District or the seaside. [06:14] Talks about close relationship with family, who have all died of cancer. VF blames her illness for the start of her mother’s demise. Went to private school in Preston, Moor Park school. [10:49] VF started nursing training after school, contracted meningitis and lost all hearing. Recovered at Guys hospital and then Royal national Hospital on the Isle of Wight. Feelings of isolation. VF shares a bad experience with an overbearing ‘born deaf’ man. [17:04] VF could not continue nurse’s training due to hearing loss, so got a place at the Manchest Foot Hospital, school of chiropody. Marries her husband, who lost all hearing at age of 14. Later, in 1972 VF and family moved to Devon, built a bungalow in Wool. [22:07] When VF’s husband dies, she moved to Wareham, lives near family. Good contact. VF talks about her husband’s resentment at his hearing loss and how he became abusive in latter years. [29:08] VF lists the animals her family kept, including donkeys and chinchillas. [33:07] Description of husband’s illness, and eventual death. VF talks about family relationships. VF founder member of Wessex Association of Deafened People, part of the NADP (National Association of Deafened People). VF talks about funding for lipreading classes. [39:19] VF has balance problems, uses a stick. VF talks in detail about meningitis treatment, at age 21. Dihydrostreptomycin as cause of her hearing loss, lumbar punctures and all the specialists brought in to help. [45:09] VF was very isolated during illness and recovery. Feels she had poor treatment. No point in having hearing aid as nothing to amplify. Feelings about hearing dogs. Equipment used around the house. [53:55] VF talks about her first cochlear implant [CI], which was single channel, and not successful. 10 years later had another CI. VF believes one should be automatically referred for hearing therapy, she was not. [01:01:04] VF discusses how the hearing loss affected her life, her inability to qualify as a nurse, being unable to listen to music. [01:06:41] VF very grateful for the CI.

  • Description

    Interviewed for the project 'Unhead Voices: Interviews With Deafened People', conducted by Hearing Link in 2008 and 2009 in partnership with the British Library, and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Related transcripts

    Valerie Knight interviewed by Stephanie Pennell: full transcript of the interview (PDF)

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item