Heather Whitestone McCallum received a cochlear implant during an operation last month in Baltimore. The electronic device improves sound quality and speech recognition.
After allowing time for the incisions to heal, doctors activated the implant Thursday. When Heather's audiologist clapped her hands, Heather nodded and began to cry.
Heather said in an earlier interview that the most beautiful sound she's heard so far was water running into a sink while she brushed her teeth.
The 1995 Miss America was aware of cochlear implants years ago but decided she didn't need them. But she became frustrated over not being able to hear her sons laugh, cry or ask for something.