Dr Lara James

I am a hearing-impaired professional violinist with a profound loss on my left side. Having
been diagnosed with this deafness as a child, I grew up in an environment where there were
not only huge stigmas around hearing loss, but also a general lack of understanding about
the implications of my deafness. I learned from a very young age to mask my disability,
feared the consequences of others knowing, and received no support throughout my
general education or musical training.

Deafness has accompanied me throughout all stages of my life, shaping decisions and
affecting career choices. It took me a long time to accept that whatever pathway I choose, I
cannot escape it. Since making music is what I love doing most in life, it has been hard, even
for me, to grasp that my need to make music should not sit uncomfortably or apologetically
alongside my deafness.

I have decided to run the Worcester 10k this year to raise money and awareness for two
charities. Firstly, Music and the Deaf is an organisation that offers workshops, projects, talks
and training aimed at helping deaf people overcome the barriers in enjoying and accessing
music. There are around 45,000 deaf children living in the UK, very few of them with any
access to musical training, and one of Music and the Deaf’s key aims is to provide training
and support to enable these children to access and experience the joys and benefits of

Secondly, I would like to raise money for University Hospitals Birmingham. After years of
searching for effective ways to aid my hearing loss, I feel extremely fortunate to have
become the first recipient of a cochlear osia hearing implant at University Hospitals
Birmingham in January 2022. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, I received the most attentive
and warmest care I could have possibly imagined as well as brilliant expertise from a host of
doctors. Having received my sound processor, the external part of the hearing implant, in
March 2022, I am still in the early days of discovering the benefits of my hearing implant. I
performed my first concert last week where I was able to hear parts of the music I had never
been able to experience before, and I am looking forward to further explorations on my
musical journey.

As I run the Worcester 10k, I will be propelled by the accompaniment of music. As I run
along the banks of the Severn, I will be singing the praises of our NHS as well as the vital
work of Music and the Deaf. I might even play a tune on my violin at the end!


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