POSTED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 10:17pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 12:16pm
Dawn Keim has lived in silence for more than a decade. The soft trickle of water from the fountain in her mother's backyard is just one of many sounds she had forgotten.
"When I was 30, I was moving and I was unpacking and I had this bell and I picked it up and I was like, this is kind of weird. And I was ringing it and I was like, okay something's wrong. I could hear it a little bit in one ear and not at all in the other. I was looking at it like the bell works. And at that point I was like something is wrong," she said.
That's when Dawn decided to meet with a hearing specialist for the first time and what they told her changed her life. A genetic condition left her completely deaf and when her youngest son, Asher was born, she couldn't hear his first cries. For over a decade, Dawn imagined sound.
"I think because I was able to hear when I was younger, I heard from memory," she said.
But two years ago, doctors told her about the cochlear implant, a surgery for people with severe hearing loss that could possibly restore Dawn's hearing. She was skeptical at first but finally decided to go through with it. She traveled to Los Angeles for the surgery, and when the nurse activated the implant for the first time, it was an overwhelming feeling for Dawn.
"When I heard her, I can't even, I can't even describe what it was like. It's just amazing. It's amazing. There has not been one day that I have not heard a new sound," said Dawn.
But the most exciting moment was yet to come. Dawn would hear her youngest son call her mom for the first time in both their lives and it was an unforgetable experience.