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11th May, 2015

Interview: YouTube sensation Jo Milne visits the Beatles Story

Can you imagine hearing music for the first time aged 39? Well that is what happened to YouTube sensation Jo Milne who was born completely deaf. Jo became an 'internet star' after a video of her hearing for the first time after having implants fitted was viewed more than 9,000,000 times (see below).

Jo visited the Beatles Story last weekend and spoke to us about her amazing story and about why the song 'Imagine' means so much to her.

"When did your hearing first return?"

"I first got my hearing back on 24th March 2014 and that is when the video was taken of me."

"Had somebody tried to explain music to you prior to hearing it?"

"Well growing up around family who could hear they had already tried to explain music to me. I remember putting my head up to a large speaker and hearing the music, and I could even recognise some songs by the vibrations. I also could tell when people were listening to music, so I understood what it meant to people. I understood that there were different types of music because everyone would move in a different way.

"What was the first song that you listened to after your hearing returned?"

The first song that I listened to was 'Imagine' by John Lennon.

"How was it decided that the first song that you heard would be 'Imagine' by John Lennon?"

"As soon as the doctor told me that there was a chance that I would be able to hear for the first time the debate started as to what the first song that I heard was going to be. There were a huge amount of suggestions from my friends and family, a lot of Beatles songs were suggested actually. But it was as simple as 'Imagine' was just the last suggestion that was sent to me, I still had the conversation with a school friend open on my phone so I clicked on the link and listened to it."

"Can you describe what you were feeling when you heard music for the first time?"

"Hearing music for the first time was amazing. The feeling was a mixture of awe, because of the sound of the music, but I also felt emotional because of the lyrics to the song and the message it was portraying. I feel a connection with John Lennon because I share his beliefs and we both imagine the world should be a certain way."

Imagine: Jo Milne in the John Lennon Imagine Room

"You've had a while to discover music now, what sort of stuff do you listen to?"

"At the moment, I am mostly listening to The Beatles! Though, I am still discovering. I have years to catch up on so I am listening to everything from the beginning, I am currently listening to a lot of 1920s jazz music. It isn't necessarily because it is my favourite but because I am starting from the start."

"How did you find your visit to the Beatles Story?"

"Emotional is the first word that comes to mind, it has also been very educational. I found out things that I didn't know before about The Beatles. I feel even closer to them now because I know more about them.

"What did you think about our John Lennon Imagine Room?"

"Having the chance to sit in that room and sit behind the piano was emotional, I couldn't stop crying. The song 'Imagine' means so much to me and so does John Lennon. I know that John was a very deep guy, I would like to think that he would like my story."

Jo Milne released a book earlier this year and to find out more about 'Breaking the Silence: My Journey of Discovery as Transformative Surgery Allowed Me to Hear for the First Time' here.

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