Woman with Usher Syndrome overwhelmed after hearing for the first time

Joanne Milne of Gateshead, England, began shaking as she heard, for the first time, the days of the week recited to her.

Milne reportedly suffers from Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that is characterized by hearing loss or deafness, and progressive blindness. Three to six percent of children who are deaf have Usher Syndrom, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Milne has been deaf since birth, but with the help of cochlear implants is now able to hear sounds for the first time in 40 years.

The emotional first moments, which were caught on tape and was posted on YouTube, has garnered more than a million views.


Cochlear implant surgery involves embedding an electronic device near the ear that is able to help the ear process sounds. Unlike hearing aids, the implants bypass damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.

As of December 2012, more than 300,000 people worldwide have received implants, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Although the sound quality is less than that of natural hearing, those who recieve an implant are able to better process sounds and speech than before.

“It sounds very high,’’ Milne said when asked whether she could hear from both ears.

Cochlear implants don’t work for everyone, and require regular follow-up and nearly annual adjusting. Milne’s emotionally moving reaction signals the end of years of silence and the start of a long road ahead.

“It’s such a huge thing that you’ve just achieved. You should be really proud of yourself,’’ the woman who tested her hearing said.

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