This is the emotional moment a deaf woman wept as she heard her husband’s kiss for the first time thanks to a cochlear implant.
A video of the tender moment shows the pair exchanging ‘I love you’s before her husband leans in for a kiss.
They then settle back in their chairs before a doctor in the room asks the woman if she heard the kiss.
The shocked look on her face reveals that she had just registered the sound when the doctor asked her about it. Grinning from ear to ear, she says: ‘I did!’ before breaking down in tears, triggering the doctor to tear-up as well.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that can be placed in the ears of people who are profoundly deaf to improve their hearing.
A surgical procedure is required to insert the device, part of which remains under the skin. The other part of it rests behind the patient’s ear.
An implant contains a microphone, which picks up on noises around the person wearing it. Next, a ‘speech processor’ in the implant selects sounds that the microphone picks up to highlight for the patient wearing the device.
The processor then signals a stimulator, which converts the sounds to electric impulses inside of the patient’s ear.
These impulses are then sent to the patient’s auditory nerve by an electrode array.
WHY CHILDREN WITH COCHLEAR IMPLANTS HAVE AN INCREASED RISK OF MENINGITIS INFECTIONS
The CDC has found that children with cochlear implants are more susceptible to meningitis infections.
For this reason, doctors who are thinking of treating a deaf child with a cochlear implant should always review their vaccination history.
Children considering getting implants should be up-to-date on their pneumococcal vaccinations, as pneumococcal meningitis is a specific strand that they have a higher chance of getting.
And the CDC recommends that they be up-to-date on these vaccinations at least two weeks before their insertion surgery.
Even if a child has had pneumococcal meningitis in the past, they should still receive the vaccination before the surgery, since there are more than 90 known variations of the infection.
While the devices do not ensure that deaf patients will have their hearing restored 100 percent, they do create representations of the voices of others for them, which help deaf people understand speech.
Cochlear implants are not the same as hearing aids, which help people who have damaged ears. Hearing aids amplify sounds for people hard of hearing.
Implants, on the other hand, do not communicate with damaged parts of the ear, but instead they directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
Both children and adults who are deaf can be fitted for cochlear implants, which were approved in the 1980s, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have had them inserted into their ears.
The FDA has said that about 60,000 US adults and 40,000 US children use the implants to help them hear.
After a cochlear implant is inserted into a deaf patient, they will have to undergo therapy to learn how to utilize their sense of hearing, working with audiologists and speech pathologists to practice developing their hearing and communication skills.
Factors that deaf people consider when making the decision to get a cochlear implant include age, their motivation to learn to hear and whether their hearing loss was present before or after their language skills were developed.