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Lansing, Michigan

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Deaf Woman Weeps As She Hears Her Own Voice for the First Time

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Technology never ceases to amaze me, but it’s even better when it helps people improve their lives. The story of Sarah Churman, a 29-year-old who was born deaf due to a rare genetic deformity, really inspired me because it captured the amazing capabilities of new technologies and how they can open up a whole new world.

Sarah has relied on hearing aids for most of her life, but as she puts it, "they only help so much". Until now, she has read lips for the most part to help her communicate. But that all changed when she received an Esteem hearing aid, a new device that is embedded in the user’s ear and works off of ear drum vibrations. Typical hearing aids work by using microphones and speakers, so Sarah might have been able to hear some things before, but not the way that she is able to with the Esteem hearing aid.

Sarah’s joy was captured in a recent YouTube video as she experienced hearing her own voice for the first time. Her husband, Sloan, took the video just to share with family and friends on YouTube, but it has become an inspiring viral sensation with 4 million viewers at the last count.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOo3jzkhYA&feature=player_embedded

Sloan heard about the Esteem hearing aid on the radio, as it was advertised as the only fully implantable hearing aid for the condition that his wife suffered from–sensorineural hearing loss. The $30,000 implant was very expensive for a working class family, but Sloan and Sarah saved up as much as they could, and with the help of her mother, the hearing aid was installed in July. Perhaps the biggest blessing of all was that Sarah could hear the voices of her two daughters for the first time.