Bognor Regis man chosen for national music prize

Al Gardner has chosen to spend his prize on a guitar and will receive music lessons for a year
Al Gardner has chosen to spend his prize on a guitar and will receive music lessons for a year

Winning a national grant was music to the ears of Bognor Regis man Al Gardner.

He has used the MED-EL UK Music Grant money to invest in a guitar, guitar lessons and sheet music.

It was a big moment for Al, who has hereditary hearing loss and was totally deaf until he received a cochlear implant in 2014.

In his application, he said learning any musical instrument had been beyond the capability of his hearing for 30 years and as a child, he was never given the opportunity.

Most of the time during his 25 years of hearing aid use, music was an irritation that sounded like tearing paper off in the distance.

Al said: “Since activation of my MED-EL cochlear implant, I have done nothing but listen to music all day. I keep taking the hearing aid out of my other ear because I just can’t believe what I’m hearing through my implant. The music is absolutely fantastic.

“I think It would be amazing to just be able to play a guitar well enough to entertain my friends around the camp fire and after a year of professional lessons, who knows what the limit would be.”

Al, who makes parachute equipment, has never let anything hold him back in life and his passions include BASE jumping, an extreme sport like skydiving but from much lower altitudes.

He said being able to hear music had made a big difference to him, as well as listening to news on the radio and going to drive-through restaurants.

The MED-EL UK music grant gives hearing implant users the chance to own and learn to play a musical instrument.

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