IT will help her hear properly for the first time in her life.

Specialists at Southampton General Hospital will perform a ground-breaking UK first operation today to help a deaf woman hear again.

Despite being deaf from birth the 44-year-old will have a small electronic device implanted in just one ear to help her clearly hear again using both ears.

The UK’s first single cochlear operation will take place thanks to hard work by the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre at the University of Southampton.

The device has two parts, the first implanted in the ear to help send electronic signals to the hearing nerve and subsequently to the brain and an external piece to help process speech.

Julie Brinton, Joint Head of the Centre, said: “Over the past 20 years the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre has implanted over 500 people with different implants. Some adults and children have already received two implants, with one in each ear.

“The difference with the device being used on Friday is that, although information is delivered to each ear, there is only one implant.”

A 44-year-old woman from the Isle of Wight will be the first in the UK to take the single cochlear implant which provides signals for both ears rather than just one and around 40 similar operations have already been completed in Europe.

Dr Helen Cullington, Clinical Scientist (Audiology) at the University of Southampton, said: “Following the surgery she will need to wait for four to six weeks before the device is tuned and she can begin to have auditory rehabilitation to encourage her listening with the new sensation she will experience.

“There is an individual programme for each patient; a computer is used to assess the levels and frequencies of sound that the patient can hear and tune the implant accordingly.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for a deaf adult to obtain hearing in both ears.”

Consultant otolaryngologist Mark Pringle based at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Ports-mouth, will undertake the operation.

He said: “Having two ears working makes it easier to hear in noisy backgrounds and also helps with localisation, or hearing where sounds are coming from.

“Also, because there is only one processor and one internal receiver stimulator this makes this device significantly cheaper than two separate implants.”