A Texas mother has emerged from more than a decade of silence to hear her eight-year-old son talk for the first time.
Dawn Keim, 43, from El Paso, began losing her hearing 15 years ago due to a debilitating genetic condition.
The mother-of-three never thought she’d hear her older sons’ voices again and, when her youngest child, Asher, was born, she was devastated that she’d never be able to hear him speak.
She travelled to the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles where she received a cochlear implant – an electronic device surgically implanted in the ear of a profoundly deaf person to provide a sense of sound.
The quality isn’t the same as natural hearing, however patients are able to hear and understand speech and environmental sounds such as music.
When the time comes, Asher stands behind his mother with a grin and asks: ‘Hey Mom, can you hear me?’
‘Yes,’ Keim says ecstatically, and the pair both break down in tears. ‘I love you,’ Asher says. ‘I love you too,’ his mother replies.
The little boy said he was thrilled he could now be heard. ‘Now she can finally hear me and I’m not silent anymore,’ he says.
In a later interview, Keim described the experience as ‘overwhelming.’
‘It’s overwhelming and far better than I expected it to be,’ she said. ‘I was so fearful of what I was going to hear and what it was going to sound like. I’m still overwhelmed.’