Being able to hear is a blessing and a gift that we should never take for granted.
According to ABC News, 10-year-old Sammie Hicks lost her hearing as a toddler due to a genetic mutation; a hardship that improved when the 10-year-old received a cochlear implant in April. It was an experience that she was bravely willing to share with the world through her blog and on YouTube.
"I've had hearing aids for seven and a half years," Sammie said after learning that her surgery had been moved up from May 25 to April 13. "I know all about them, but this is something completely different."
In the above clip, Sammie is visibly jolted once the implant is turned on and begins to cry after hearing herself breathe for the first time, an event that the whole family fondly remembers.
"I started to cry because it was overwhelming," Sammie said. "I had no idea what the sounds were."
"My heart just stopped," Sammie's mother, Jenifer Hicks, recalled. "I can't really put into words what it felt like hearing those little things we never thought she'd be able to hear."
"I asked her why she cried," her father, Brian Hicks, told ABC News. "She said, 'It was overwhelming. But the reason I really cried? I couldn't believe all the stuff I was missing.'"
A few sounds that Sammie was missing are now some of her favourites like the sound of birds chirping and running water. However, it hasn't been easy and returning to school sounded very different to the youngster.
"The teacher sounded like a robot," Sammie admitted in an episode of her video diary after her first day back at school. "There was a lot of page turning and pencil writing that I never really hear. On the road, I [could] hear the school bus turning."
Sammie's physician, Dr. Paul Bauer, explained how a cochlear implant works, saying, "Inside of your inner ear are millions of microscopic hairs that turn the nerves on and off, in very simple terms," he said. "And what a cochlear implant is trying to do, is replace those hairs."
Since her surgery, Sammie has continued to inspire others with her success story and offers these words of encouragement to her audience, saying, "I hope they learn that just because you're deaf, doesn't mean you can't go and do the things you want to do like most of the other deaf people."
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