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17-Year-Old Girl Hears For The First Time

17-Year-Old Girl Hears For The First Time


Airdate: 05/30/2012

It was a medical miracle. 17-year-old Jackie Hardee heard her mother's voice for the first time in her life.

"Can you hear me?" asked a nurse.

Jackie nodded.

"Want to hear your mom say something?" asked the nurse.

"I love you," said her mother, Carla.

It's a touching story you'll only find on INSIDE EDITION.

In an instant, Jackie went from a life of total silence, to hearing sounds we all take for granted.

Jackie was born with defective ear drums, and even with a powerful hearing aid, she could only hear limited sounds.
    
"I was embarrassed, so I would cover my ear," said Jackie.

The straight-A student from Houston starts college in the fall, and realized listening in crowded lecture halls would be impossible with a hearing aid.

So, she decided to get a high tech hearing device implanted into her ear. Carla could barely hold back her tears.

"It's going to take away my fears right now. I worry that she can't hear someone coming up behind her," said Carla.
    
INSIDE EDITION was with Jackie for the groundbreaking surgery.
    
Surgeon Michael Murray cut behind the ear and removed bone, creating room for the implant.

"I'm going to make an incision behind your ear and we're going to remove a little bit of bone under the skin," explained Dr. Murray.
    
"These little components—these little wires—are inserted through the bone behind the ear," said Murray.

The wires turn the ear drum into a microphone, filtering out background noise like normal ears. After five hours in surgery, Dr. Murray delivered the news to Jackie's anxious parents.
    
"Jackie's done. She had a good surgery," said Dr. Murray.

But Jackie had to heal before doctors could turn on the implant.

Two months later, we were with Jackie as she got ready for the big day.

Looking at the back of her head, you could barely tell where the scar was.

Once she was at the hospital, a nurse turned on the implant.

"Does it sound loud?" asked the nurse.

"Not too loud, but I can hear it," replied Jackie.

The emotions of a lifetime struggle with hearing are still with her, but now Jackie can listen to the sounds of nature.

"I can kind of like, hear the wind and the car going," said Jackie.

Jackie had another surprise waiting for her at home—her friends were there to throw her a noisy surprise party.

The buzz was all about the prom. Jackie will actually hear the music when she dances with her date.

For the first time in her life, Jackie says she feels like a normal teenage girl.


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