A boy who has been partially deaf for nine years was suddenly cured - when a cotton wool bud popped out of his ear.

"I think I'll be much happier at school now my ear does not ache all the time"

Jerome Bartens was diagnosed as deaf in his right ear when he was just two and has struggled at school ever since.

But Jerome, now 11, was suddenly able to hear clearly again as he played with friends in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

He said he heard a popping sound, then found the tip of a cotton wool bud in his ear.

His family believe Jerome must have put the bud in his ear as a toddler and the centimetre-long cotton tip came off the plastic stem.

Jerome's father Carsten, 45, said: "It was just incredible - his hearing returned to normal in an instant.

"He was cured as suddenly as he became deaf. I had always suspected Jerome had stuck something in his ear when he was little and that was causing the problem.

"But the doctors and hearing specialists said it was wax and he would probably grow out of it.

"I am amazed they didn't spot something as obvious as a cotton wool bud."

Jerome has kept the waxy bud as a souvenir of his nine years of silence on his right.

His family believe that as he grew the bud has been forced out - and finally came out nine years later.

He is due to be examined by hearing experts later this week - and his father is taking along the cotton wool bud as proof of his "miracle cure".

Single father Mr Bartens has now complained to his GP and hearing specialists who examined Jerome over the years.

He said: "It has held Jerome back in school and caused him problems in communicating with his friends."

Lorry driver Mr Bartens - who has two older daughters Takita, 16, and Tiffany, 14, - says he's "thrilled" that Jerome's hearing has come back.

He said: "If he was playing down the garden I would have to shout for him eight or nine times before he would respond.

"But now he has 100% hearing and he's just a normal boy again."

Jerome said: "I can hear much better now and I think I'll be much happier at school now my ear does not ache all the time.

"I was just playing pool in the church hall when my ear made a popping noise. It was very strange at first to be able to hear everything.

"But now I'm getting used to it - it's great that people don't have to shout to me or that I don't have to turn my head all the time."