"Hi Mom!" is an expression most mothers hear all the time, but for the deaf mother in this viral YouTube video, the sound of those words was life-changing.
"Takes a few minutes but worth the experience" is how the clip's description begins, but compared to the 26 years Amy has waited to hear her parents' voices -- and the six to hear her son Blake's -- a few minutes hardly seems like very long. At the 3:05 mark, Blake says "Hi, mom!" -- then repeats it louder and louder until she can finally hear his voice and register her reaction.
The video, which shows Amy using implants, was uploaded to YouTube last September by Amy's aunt, Catherine Arnold, who wrote: "Our niece has been deaf since she was born. She has never heard the sound of her parents voice or her 6 year old son, Blake. Every day for the next several months she will learn how sound works and where it comes from." An update to the video's description explains: "Her pronunciation has improved vastly and she can hear words and especially music!" The footage went viral over the weekend after being posted to Reddit.
Asked to describe what she is hearing, Amy, who is brought to tears by the experience, says she can't explain the sound -- but that it's totally different from, and clearer than, what she heard through her hearing aid.
There are several other equally emotional videos of Amy online. The description for a longer clip taken at the same appointment reads: "Our daughter Amy was born with a sensorineural bilateral hearing loss in 1986. Today on Aug 31st, 2012, 26 years later she was able to hear for the first time." Another YouTube video from the same day shows Amy hearing her sister, Emily, for the first time via FaceTime. Amy breaks down in tears the moment she can see and hear her sister at the same time -- and viewers might well do the same.
Another mom who had a similar experience was featured recently on "The Doctors." Forty-three-year-old Dawn Keim, who started to lose her hearing 15 years ago, heard her 8-year-old son speak for the first time. Keim said the decision to have the surgery was a difficult one: "I'm not afraid of the surgery; I'm more afraid of hearing," she explained, elaborating that she feared her son would sound different from the way she imagined.
Many incredible videos of younger children hearing their parents' voices for the first time have also attracted attention on the Internet. When Jayde Scholl, an Oklahoma 5-year-old, heard her adoptive mother speak for the first time, mom Dr. Jacque Scholl called the experience "a little breathtaking." Similar videos, like the now-famous footage of 8-month-old Jonathan Breaux hearing his mother for the first time, have gone viral in past years.