Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Miraculous Gift of Hearing

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I have never mentioned before on this blog, but those of you who know me know that I have an older sister who is profoundly deaf. Our mother was stricken with German Measles (Rubella) while pregnant. Deafness and/or blindness are common birth defects associated with that disease.

I have not seen my sister for many years, until today.

She made a long trip "home" from Oregon for Christmas bearing many gifts and we all got to meet her new husband.

The greatest gift of all, though, was when she announced that she had something to tell me that was going to be a surprise. I couldn't guess what was coming next.

She smiled broadly as she said, in a clear voice, without using signs, that she had a surgery in July to receive cochlear implants.

She can hear now.

After 43 and a half years in total silence she can hear. Everything.

I hugged her tightly with tears in my eyes, and questioned incredulously, "You can hear me?"

She told me all about the surgery and the continuing therapy she attends to help her interpret and make sense of all the sounds she can hear that she doesn't know the origin of.

She asks her husband constantly, "What is that sound?" and he tells her "That is the sound a crow makes." (Which she has pronounced as annoying, by the way.) Or "That is the sound of people walking."

The very first thing she heard, which she never even knew was a sound, was her own breath. She was amazed that breathing made a sound!

Another amazing discovery for her was the sound of a pen on paper. She could hardly believe that the small act of drawing a pen across paper could be heard!

These are some of the things she told me, with wonder in her eyes, that she has heard for the first time in her life:

  • the wind blowing
  • her cat "meow"ing
  • water running
  • a dog barking

She said the most beautiful thing she has heard so far has been piano music, so naturally, we had an impromptu piano recital on the spot!

Her therapist has said she must still lip read so that she can practice putting together the words she knows with the sounds that go with them. It will take years of practice to correctly interpret all of the sounds she will hear. She told me the hearing part of her brain has been asleep for over 40 years and now it must wake up.

It has been overwhelming for her, she says. She never knew there was so much noise going on around her. Sometimes she takes her device off for a break from the noise, but she is thrilled to be able to put it back on again just to hear rippling water or a singing bird or a child calling her name.

Our entire family is rejoicing and praising God for her new gift.

The miraculous gift of hearing.

*Go here to leave questions for an interview with my sister.
Read "Receiving Cochlear Impants", where I interview my sister about her procedure.


Kris said...

That is so awesome! I just made my dh stop the movie he's watching, so that I could read your post to him, which I did with tears in my eyes.

That is so incredible to think of all the things that your sister is hearing for the first time...things that we take for granted. I am rejoicing for her with you. Incredible!

Thank you for reminding me what a gift it is to hear my own breath.

Homeschoolin' hot-rodders said...

That is amazing! My sister is 14 years older than I, and married when I was about 6 years old. The man she chose to marry was deaf. Later on as I grew and I graduated from high school she invited me to move in with them (a move from Florida to Indiana). Before the move I took a years worth of sign language classes. After I moved in with them I learned so much about deaf culture, community etc. Most importantly they taught me about Christ and which led to my immersion. I can just imagine how amazing it would be for you to be able to have those verbal conversations with your sister! How truely amazing and AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Amazing!! Truly amazing. :)

Anonymous said...

I am crying.

Kara said...

What a gift! I feel like a bad neighbor/friend because I didn't even realize this about your sister. At the moment my ears are giving me problems and I just keep reminding myself at least I can still hear, somewhat!
What a blessing for your sister, I'm so excited for her:)

Shari said...

I am tearing up reading this. God is amazing in what he allows the human mind to invent to help others. I am so happy for her!

Brenda said...

Oh that is so exciting!!! I've seen specials on TV where little children got their implants turned on and their mom was in the other room talking on a mic to them. They suddenly jerk their head up and look around--SO exciting!!!

Please have your sister tell us more! It's just fascinating to hear about.

Gina said...

What a blessing! I have tears in my eyes as I am reminded of my aunt going through a similar (although not as drastic) thing a few years ago. The wonder and amazement of things we take for granted. For was the fact that RUBBING YOUR HANDS TOGETHER makes noise!!! Thank you for reminding me to thank my father for the amazing gift of hearing!

A Hopeful Hollar said...

Wow! I was reading/crying as she asked her husband what certain sounds were! I'm so happy for your whole family. Thank you for pointing this amazing joy out to me!

Anonymous said...

My eyes are filled with tears of joy for all of you, especially Shellie. I remember all too well all the trips we took with all the kids from church and Shellie was the only one who was able to sleep thru all the noise. What a blessing for her now that she can hear all around her, and that now you will all be able to talk with her at any time...Love to all...Ann M.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing for your sister! My husband and I are missionaries working with the Deaf throughout Latin America. It is a challenge, but there are many blessings along the way. We are both hearing, but we also have deaf relatives. God is so good! R. Hanson

Erin said...

Truly a miracle...

Alice said...

I can't believe this, it is so wonderful. Your uncle Calvin and I had no idea. It is such wonderful news and I am so happy and Calvin is so proud of her for taking the step of the surgery. As they say, there never is a too late for a miracle to happen in this world. Love to all of you. Fantastic news! Uncle Calvin and aunt Alice.

Leah said...

Now you will be able to easily keep in touch via telephone! How awesome. God is so good!

~Leah in Alaska~

Amy said...

That. Is. Amazing.


What a wonderful experience. Makes me want to stop right now and notice all I can hear. Thank you God, for your wonderful gifts!

Jenn said...

amazing! my family experienced the same miracle with my mom! she cried the whole way home after receiving her hearing aids. she did not know her windshield wipers made noise and didn't know what the sound was and kept asking. rain hitting the car... i'm so happy for you! what a miracle indeed. thank you Good and Precious LORD!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Thank you Lord, thank you!

da halls said...

That is so awesome and wonderful!

Thank you for sharing.


Mrs. C said...


That's pretty exciting, all right. Merry Christmas!

Nikki said...

I guess we take so much for granted. If we have all of our senses working, then we are truly blessed. Praise the Lord for your sister being able to hear.

Kimmie said...

Oh how wonderful is our God! I am so happy for your sister and for you! Thank you for sharing this joy-filled story, it blessed my heart!

I took sign language classes at American School of the Deaf for 2 years, I signed in a church signing ministry for several years...I love the deaf, but always happy when they get to hear too!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

JanMary said...

That is wonderful :)

Found you through Mommy Cracked.

eetomost said...

What an amazing story!!

Denise said...

What a blessing!

Penny Kendall Photography said...

Connie ... what a wonderful blessing to your sister ... and to all of your family. God is good, isn't he?

Elizabeth said...

That is amazing. It reminds me of how much I take for granted. It must be quite something to notice those sounds for the first time -- especially of your own breathing.

I have a niece who was profoundly -- but not totally -- deaf who has had surgeries to correct her hearing. It's amazing what they can do now for the hearing impaired.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

This is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I've linked. And the three of us upstairs when I read this post all took a moment of semi-silence to listen to the non-silence and be grateful for all the sounds God has created. Even crows.

Gibby said...

Wow, that is amazing. (Found you on Mommy-Cracked!)

Anonymous said...

Hello to everyone.. this is Connie's sister Shellie and I am still learning more kids talk and also I learned alot from my grandson been calling me often w/ his sense of humor. When I was in kitchen and I heard my grandson says "NO!!" few times. Also my grandson kept calling me "MEMA!!" everyday w/ his giggle voice.

I began pick up a few words so far and continue listen very carefull w/ full my concentrate as I make sure I get correct words what they spoken.

Most of time, I caught kids downstair while I was upstair bedroom and kids was shocked as they couldn't change subject after I caught them. Kids did asked Dad "is that true she knows what we doing" then Dad says "of course she pick up real quick and know what you all doing".

A couple months ago, my husband texted me my cell phone and asking me if I could hear Owl then I say no cause window is closed and he says open window then listen. So which I did opened the window and hear nothing then I left window open for a while and waiting to hear the owl until Owl made noise and I loves that sound as like to hear again (ha ha ha!)

If you have more question(s)to get know more about my cochlear implant and feel free to ask anytime/anyday.

God bless you all in God's love!

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