Profoundly deaf nurse receives help at work from four legged friend

Margo Harrison, senior staff nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, with hearing dog Pebbles who helps her at home and work ANL-151119-153140001
Margo Harrison, senior staff nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, with hearing dog Pebbles who helps her at home and work ANL-151119-153140001

A senior staff nurse, who is profoundly deaf, is getting extra help at work from a four-legged friend - West Suffolk Hospital’s first hearing dog.

Margo Harrison started working with two-year-old cocker spaniel Pebbles in March after applying to the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity.

Her hearing has gradually deteriorated over the past 15 years but she tried to carry on as normal until one day she had to be told by a patient that the fire alarm was going off.

Margo, who lives near Bury St Edmunds and has worked at the hospital for 25 years, said: “When my hearing first started to deteriorate, I took lip reading classes and did a sign language course.

“I tried to carry on living in the hearing world, but was gradually finding things more difficult, especially as hearing loss is an invisible disability.”

Pebbles, who has received special training to alert her owner to noises such as alarm clocks or a knock at the door, now joins Margo at work in the hospital’s pre-admission unit.

Margo said: “Having Pebbles has made a big difference at work - my colleagues adore her and she makes the patients smile, and often helps if people are feeling nervous.

“She lies by my side in her uniform when I see patients, which also reminds them to look at me when they talk so that I can lip read.”

Margo has volunteered with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People for nine years and plans to take Pebbles to talks to help raise awareness of the charity.

For more information about the charity, visit:

www.hearingdogs.org.uk