Teary-eyed Joanne Milne graces the limelight as she hears for the first time in a heartwarming video that quickly goes viral. The 40-year-old British woman had been deaf since birth due to Usher syndrome, but on March 24, Milne's world began to change as her cochlear implants were switched on and the for the first time sound waves entered her eardrums.
Milne, a Gateshead, England resident, is reported to have been born with Usher syndrome, which is a condition that can be distinguished by deafness and progressive vision loss. According to the Genetics Home Reference Web site, the vision loss is "caused by a disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which affects the eye retina.
Usher syndrome is considered to be the one accountable for "3 percent to 6 percent of all childhood deafness and about 50 percent of deaf-blindness in adults.
Before Joanne Milne had cochlear implants, Los Angeles Times reported that she had spoken to the local media.
"Being deaf was just who I was," Joanne Milne said. But as her loss of vision apparently worsened, Milne said that "for the first time, being deaf became increasingly difficult" and so she had to seek help.
The British woman with Usher had seek help and found cochlear implants as a solution to her hearing deficiency. Reports claim that the implants were switched on March 24 while Milne's friend Tremayne Crossley captured the moment when the implants were being tested.
Crossley told the media that one time Milne removed the device because she hadn't been able to sleep due to the sounds.
"You just don't appreciate quite how noisy the world is," Crossley added, according to reports. "She scared herself because she was eating a bag of crisps, and when the crisps bag scrunched, it made her jump."
According to the official Web site of National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a cochlear implant is a "small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing."
It is stated that the cochlear implant cannot restore the normal hearing of a person, but it can help any deaf person to be able to hear a "useful presentation" of sounds.
As of December 2012, an approximate of 324,000 people worldwide, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have received cochlear implants. NIDCD supports the research to improve the benefits offered by the implants.