10:05 12 April 2010
Coronation Street legend William Roache (who plays gentle stalwart Ken Barlow) has revealed he is partially deaf.
The 77-year-old, who found fame playing the easy-going character, is 50% deaf in both ears and requires visual cues to prompt him when on the set of the ITV soap.
"Deafness is extremely isolating," he said. "I live in a cocooned world."
Roache is a founding member of the soap's cast and the only remaining original cast member, having appeared since the first black and white episode on December 9 1960.
The actor said he damaged his hearing as a young soldier, when a bomb exploded at close range during a training exercise.
Roache explained: "I was 21, I was an officer, it was a training exercise but with live ammunition, and some over-keen guy pulled the bomb up and I got the full blast of the explosion right by my ear.
"I could not hear at all for three weeks."
The Corrie star has since had a hearing aid fitted, but says his condition can still be "extremely isolating".
"I could be having a normal conversation and certain things I just won't hear. I can't hear watches or alarms, footsteps or the rustling of paper."
On set of the soap, he added, "the floor manager has to give me a visual cue, a hand signal, and it is just something that I have learned to live with.
"I have put up with it all these years."
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