Deaf woman amazed by video reaction

Published Wednesday, 02 April 2014
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A deaf woman who experienced sound for the first time last week has been describing how amazed she is at the public's reaction and support.

The emotional video of Joanne Milne having her cochlear implants switched on was viewed globally online, and she has been speaking to This Morning about the "overwhelming" experience.

Joanne was born profoundly deaf and at the age of 29 she was told she was going blind due to the rare medical condition Usher Syndrome.

"I can't describe how absolutely devastating it was," she told Phillip and Holly. "I'm only human, I felt very low and I had to come to terms with it.

"I can remember it hit me for the first time when I was with my guide dog and I can remember having a glimpse of myself in a shop window and seeing a blind lady walking past with a guide dog.

"I've always been somebody who was deaf and to see that, that's when it really hit me."

Joanne decided to have cochlear implants fitted in both ears and eight days ago they were switched on. The life-changing moment was captured by her mum as Joanne broke down in tears as she heard sounds for the first time in her life.

She explained: "It is absolutely overwhelming, it's just not what I imagined sound to be like. I'm dealing with the emotional impact of being able to hear sound again.

"At that moment, experiencing sound is just so hard to explain because I've always worn hearing aids I've always picked up like a white noise but it has been very low. Deaf people don't pick up low sounds, vibrations and rhythm.

"When the actual switch on happened it was like everything was high."

I'm enjoying the roller coaster and I'm amazed at how the public have been so kind and it shows you how beautiful people have been, people do genuinely care.

Joanne Milne

Now adjusting to life with sound Joanne is experiencing noises that maybe those with perfect hearing would take for granted.

"I'm recognising accents for the first time and the first one I recognised was my Geordie accent which was just so funny," she said.

"And as time goes by it is getting clearer and clearer and the best way I can describe it is there is lots of different noises that is happening right now that I don't quite identify what the sounds are but it is like a process and it's one day at a time."

The-39-year-old admitted she found the experience of listening to music quite daunting, but following a friend's suggestion the first track she heard was Imagine by John Lennon.

Joanne explained she is now taking everything day by day and is slowly getting used to a world with sound - and discovering new sounds in her "once silent" home.

"I had two days when I was in the hospital and I was quite looking forward to getting back home, to what I thought was my silent home, but it wasn't silent.

"There was a clock ticking, the sound of my footsteps, even the sound of the hangers in the wardrobe, everything sounded so loud."

© UTV News
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