Birdsong, a grandchild’s laugh and peeling a banana - Andy Walker has no doubt what his happiest sounds are.
They mean even more to the father of three grown-up children from Deepcar because he’s spent most of his adult life unable to hear them.
From a young age, a condition known as runny or discharging ears, caused Andy to have poor hearing. The affliction makes it difficult to wear hearing aids, as they block the ears and can stop infections from clearing.
But now Andy, aged 56, had a new lease of life after having a cochlear bone-anchored hearing aid fitted, in a simple day-case procedure.
“The surgery was straightforward, and I went home that afternoon and wasn’t in any pain,” said Andy.
Around three months later the device was switched on and Andy could hear better than he had all his adult life.
He added: “The first thing I noticed was how loud the room was. When I asked what all the noise was, I was told that it was the air conditioning. I remember going down into the hospital café and sitting there listening. I had bought myself a banana and as I peeled the skin off. I could actually hear the skin tearing and I was fascinated.”
That is why Andy - a health and safety manager at the Tata Steelworks in Stocksbridge - has chosen a peeling banana as one of his happiest sounds, as part of a national social media campaign called #HappiestSound. The idea of the campaign which was launched this month is to raise awareness that everyone, wherever possible, should be able to have a happiest sound.
Visit www.happiestsound.com to ‘hear’ the full collection on March 2.