Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BBC Interview

Here's the interview I did with the BBC in London!

BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Outlook, 16/11/2011

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.........we don't have a good 'internet usage plan' that allows me to listen to things :( If anyone can find a transcript or something, let me know.


  1. Transcript part 1:
    Matthew Bannister: This is Outlook from BBC World Service, I'm Matthew Bannister.
    Now, for the first 29 years of her life, Sarah Churman was unable to hear any but the loudest of sounds. She was born with a genetic hearing impairment, that meant, she couldn't even hear the voices of her husband and her two young daughters. But everything changed last august, when she underwend surgery to have an implant inserted into one ear. Her Husband filmed the moment when Sarah heard her own voice for the first time and posted the video on Youtube. Within weeks it had been viewed more than eight million times. On the line from Dallas, United States, Sarah told me about her life before she regained her hearing.
    Sarah Churman: For the most part, just day to day interaction is pretty difficult, ahm, settings have to be right as far as being able to speak and interact with people, ahm, they have to be looking at me, and I have, I read lips, that's how I've gotten by for 29 years is lipreading, and... It's hard for me to explain, but basically with the hearing aids before, you know, hearing aids are digital and technology or whatnot, so, basically all it was doing was just raising the noise of everything, so everything is just one big ball of noise, so as far as speaking to someone, you knew that there was a sound, but you couldn't make a distinction as to what the were saying or anything like that. So, I always had to be facing someone to be able to read their lips. They had to be a good speaker, you know, anyone who mumbles or had facial hair or spoke quietly or looked down was very hard to interact with.
    Bannister: How did you hear about these implants in the first place?
    Churman: About seven years ago, I actually underwent a bunch of testings and scans and things at ?? university here in Dallas to determine what the actual cause of my hearing loss was from. Then they discovered that the hairs in your inner ear that most of mine were damaged or I didn't have them, and, so, they said at that time that science and technology was about ten years away from perfecting a type of implant or surgery that would benefit me. My husband Sloan called me one day and he said me that I just heard about something called the Esteem Implant on the radio, he said, this is the surgery we've been waiting for.
    Bannister: And were you frightened that it might not work?
    Churman: Yes, you know, there is always that bit of fear, you know, nothing's ever a hundered percent, I don't care what anyone says and so, yeah, I was, you know, at the moment sitting and waiting for the device to be activated half of me was absolutely terrified that it wasn't going to work, you know...

  2. Transcript part 2:
    Bannister: And the other thing was, that it was very, very expensive, wasn't it, $ 30,000 I think, how did you manage to raise the money for that?
    Churman: The funny thing is, when I called and I found that it was $ 30,000 I just called my husband Sloan crying and I just said, you know, there's no way we could ever afford that, you know. He flat out told me over the phone, he said come hell or high water, you gonna get it, you have a right to it and he said, I'll do whatever I have to. I'll sell the house, I'll sell a kidney, I'll join the army. He said don't worry about it, we're gonna make it happen. He said, call the lady back and get the information sent to the house. So, I called the woman back that I was speaking with and upon discussing further with her, I found not only was it 30,000, but it was 30,000 per ear. I had to hang up on the phone with her, was absolutely heartbroken, and I called my husband back and he said, Sarah, he said, is so, you know, unfeasible, so what's the difference between 20, 30,000 and 60,000, they're both extremely high numbers that, you know, we can't wrap our mind around, and said, don't worry about it, you know, this will happen. So, you know, we just spent several days, you know, just trying to over options, thinking about stuff and praying about it, and my mother-in-law came to me and she said, you knoe, I really felt like to cash out my retirement savings and just give you the money to have one ear done, you know. She said, I only have enough for one ear, but one would, you know, really good and sufficient. So, she just stepped out in faith and cashed out her retirement savings, and I had the surgery done as soon as I could, and the surgery date was August 4.
    Bannister: Now, we can actually hear a clip from the video that has become such a sensation on the internet of you actually having your implant activated for the first time. Let's have a listen to that, Sarah.
    (playing the audio track of the famous Youtube video)
    Bannister: So, what do you remember from that moment when the implant was activated for the first time?
    Churman: Honestly, I was afraid I was gonna pass out before I could actually get to that moment of... of it being activated. You know, there's a certain comfort in the way I've been for 29 years, and so, you know, I was just partially just absolutely terrified of the fear of the unknown, basically, you know, not knowing what to expect, what it was gonna sound like, what I was gonna sound like, you know, what... was I going to be, well you know, was it just gonna be too much for my brain, ahm, would I adjust to it well, and those type of things, and then the other half of me was just like dying for them to hurry up and turn it on, because I just I wanted to experience it so bad.
    Bannister: What was it like to hear your own voice for the first time?
    Churman: It's so hard for me to explain, you know, because someone else doesn't get what it's like to hear your voice from the inside. With hearing aids before, the sound would leave my mouth and it would have to travel back around, back behind my head to the speaker behind my ear on my hearing aid. And so, by the time it had traveled around and processed through the hearing aid, it was just a jumbled noise along all the other noises. First I could hear myself crying and that was weird, and then laughing and then speaking, and it's just so hard for me to explain, but you're hearing yourself from inside yourself, you know, which is just a very odd but incredible sensation, and, and... aah... My husband says that I don't talk nearly as loud as I used to, so... (chuckles) I'm sure he enjoys that.

  3. Transcript part 3:
    Bannister: (chuckles) And I think you heard your children's voices for the first time; that, too, must've been a wonderful moment.
    Churman: Oh, yes, sir, and that was basically the main push for getting the device, you know, I couldn't imagine waiting till they were twelve and fourteen and looking back and thinking, oh my goodness, what, you know, what all did I miss out on. The night that I got it activated, ahm, the surgery center is about a 3½ hour drive from where I live, so by the time I got home that evening it was late and my children were already asleep, they did stay with my mother-in-law, and so I didn't have a heart to wake them, so I... using my better judgment I waited till that next morning, and I just sat on the kitchen floor and just cried (with weak voice) because I had never heard the little voices and heard how grown-up my oldest one sounds, and my youngest one's so assertive and she's, you know, it was just amazing, I just sat on the floor and couldn't comprehend it all (chuckles)...
    Bannister: 'Ts a wonder... It's a wonderful image, so, it is really a wonderful image. Whose idea was it to film you as you had the implant activated?
    Churman: That's the whole irony in the whole thing. My mother-in-law is the one who cashed out her things to pay for it, and originally she and I and my husband and two girls were all gonna load up and go together. But like I said, is about 3½ - 4 hour drive and so, my mother-in-law kept thinking about it, she said, you know, Sarah, she said, it's gonna be so overwhelming already, she said, I really don't think it's a good idea to have the girls in the car with you for 3½ hours drive, so she offered to stay at home with the girls and keep on board so Sloan and I can just come by ourselves. Upon us leaving, she handed Sloan her camera and she said, but film her reaction, I wanna see, you know, what her reaction is upon the umm... turning the device on, and... Anyone who knows my husband knows he hates being in charge of a camera, he hates taking photos, you know, he doesn't like doing any of those kind of things, so, basically we joke and say, you know, if she hadn't bee his mother and she hadn't just paid for it, he wouldn't have done it. So, we got there, you know, as you can see from the video, literally he just started filming at the last second and took like 90 seconds of footage, you know, and I've jokingly have said in the beginning had I known that 8 million are gonna see the video, we'd had made a much better video and planned it and made it more thought-out, but my husband's quickly shut me down and said, that's... that's why you have 8 million views, because it's just genuine and real and in the moment and it wasn't planned.
    Bannister: What are the sounds that you've enjoyed most, obviously the voices of your children and your husband, but apart from those, what are the sounds that you love most that you can hear now that you couldn't hear before?
    Churman: There's just so many little things, you know, hearing yourself walk on leaves and the wind in the trees, there's just so many things I could go on and on forever, there's just so many little things that I've just been enjoying.
    Bannister: Sarah Churman. And if you want to see that emotional video, we've put a link to it on our Facebook page, just search for Outlook, BBC World Service. And that's all from today's program I'm Matthew Bannister, I'll be back at the same time tomorrow, do join me then if you can.