A YouTube video showing 29-year-old Sarah Churman hearing a human voice for the first time through medical technology became an Internet sensation in the fall of 2011. Churman now shares the dramatic moment and her own personal story in a new book by Indigo River Publishing called “Powered On.”
Churman was surgically implanted with a mechanism whose brand name is Esteem, according to the Toronto Star. The device fits behind the ear and detects vibrations which are transmitted to the cochlea and then to the brain. Esteem runs on batteries that last several years.
After the video became a sensation on YouTube, Churman appeared on television programs such as “The Today Show,” ABC’s “20/20,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” On “Ellen,” host Ellen DeGeneres called Churman’s post-surgery video footage “the most moving thing I’ve ever seen.”
Churman reveals her life journey and offers unique insights into hearing loss in her new autobiographical book. She says that she is still adjusting to sound and claims to feel “mixed emotions” regarding her experiences with hearing. She claims that some sounds can be jarring while others, like music, bring her “so much joy.” “I get the full spectrum of it now, and it’s amazing,” Churman said.
Churman is hoping her story will inspire others who struggle with a disability or hearing loss. She is using her new-found fame to advocate for insurance reforms benefiting the deaf and people with disabilities. “I started realizing that there were others out there like me,” she said. “People who longed to feel whole and wanted to experience the things I had. These people are the ones who tug at my heartstrings daily.”