If I had a million dollars

This video has been making the rounds of the internet, and I had to jump on the bandwagon. Witness 29-year-old wife and mother Sarah Churman hearing her own voice for the first time after her Esteem hearing implant is activated:


I’ve known about the Esteem by Envoy Medical for quite some time and promised myself that if ever I have a large sum of money at my disposal, I will foot the bill for my dad, my brothers and my sister to have the surgery done. I can only imagine how it would transform their lives. I’d love it for myself, too, of course. As of this writing, the device, surgery and doctors visits cost about $30,000, and insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s money well spent if you have it, but hopefully costs will come down as the market increases and more technological advances are made.

For the cynics out there who are screaming “HOAX!”, all I can say is that unless you have suffered hearing loss, you can’t fully comprehend this woman’s reaction. Though she has used hearing aids since she was a toddler, as she said they can only help so much. Hearing aids amplify sound using a microphone, and the quality can seem very artificial, particularly if the hearing loss is severe. The Esteem device is entirely different because it restores hearing using the eardrum rather than a microphone. Although she was able to hear to some extent before, she was most certainly not able to hear sounds in an accurate or natural way with her hearing aids. Therefore, I feel it is completely accurate for her to describe this experience as hearing her voice for the first time. I thought I knew what lots of things sounded like before I wore hearing aids.

I have mild hearing loss in one ear and mild to moderate in the other, so my problems aren’t nearly as severe as they could be. Still, I had much the same experience when I received hearing aids for the first time in 15 years. To be able to hear without effort was just amazing. Until the weight was lifted from my shoulders, I had no idea how much I had been straining just to hear. This video really pulled at my heartstrings because I can relate. It amazes me to see how technology and skill enable doctors to completely change lives. I am so happy that Sarah was able to have this surgery!

If I had the money, I would make my family cry like Sarah.

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