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March 28, 2014

Aw: Woman Fitted With Cochlear Implants Hears for the First Time In Her Life

She was born with Usher syndrome, which made her deaf since birth and then struck her blind in her mid-20s.

Usher syndrome is...

a rare genetic disorder associated with a mutation in any one of 10 genes resulting in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment and is a leading cause of deafblindness.

It is incurable at present. The condition is characterized by hearing loss and gradual loss of vision.

The below video, definitely worth a watch, shows her reaction to hearing sounds (and human speech) for the first time in her life.

The cochlear implant catches sounds itself, then sends those impulses directly to the auditory nerve, bypassing the broken circuit of her actual ear. The implant transmits basic sounds, not the rich range natural hearing offers, but at this point, I guess, she's not complaining.

Actually she does say "everything sounds so high-pitched," which her nurse assures her will change once her brain figures out what sounds are being transmitted by which part of the auditory nerve.

But that's a curious thing -- how the heck does a woman deaf since birth know what "high-pitched" is?


Just kidding.

She called the experience "overwhelming," which is borne out by the video.

"The switch-on was the most emotional and overwhelming experience of my life and Iím still in shock now. I have to learn to recognise what these sounds are as I build a sound library in my brain.

"Hearing things for the first time is so emotional from the ping of a light switch to running water. I canít stop crying and I can already foresee how itís going to be life changing." The operation also means Joanne has been able to hear her own -- and othersí -- voices for the first time. She said: "Iím so happy. Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends... they didnít have to tap my arm to get my attention which a massive leap."

I guess also she's still blind. But one miracle at a time.

Thanks to @mflynny (NDH).

And in further "awww" news, firefighters serenade a child trapped in an elevator with the song "Let it Go" from Frozen, to calm her down.

That's from @drewmtips.

And speaking of miracles -- @sonnybunch and @comradearthur share this incredible video of a cat who learns how to do a Bane impression for the first time.

digg this
posted by Ace at 08:43 PM

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