20. Never Heard A Sound In 29 Years

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Being born deaf and having tried several hearing aids, 29-year-old Sarah Churman was not new to medical experiments. She was to test her first Esteem implant – a revolutionary aural technology introduced seven years ago. Would she like the sound of her own voice? Or her husband’s? It was all so new to her, but she was ready for the adventure.

19. Can You Hear Now?

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As she sat at the doctor’s office, her hand clutched to her ear, she couldn’t help shaking. The medic woman in blue checked the functions once again on her laptop before giving Sarah a go-ahead. The medic decided to switch on the device and asked Sarah – “Can you hear me?”

18. Sound Of Her Own Sobs

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The first sound that Sarah heard for the first time, quite clearly, was that of her own laughter followed by her sobs. “I don’t want to hear myself cry,” she said after a few minutes. As her husband Sloan sat opposite her filming her first reaction, she looked at him laughing. She couldn’t quite comprehend all the new sounds, but everything was so exciting.

The story of how this family banned together is something you’ll never forget.

17. An Advertisement On The Radio

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Sloan had been driving when he first heard about the Esteem implant on the radio. At that moment, he knew this was the answer to his wife’s lifelong wish of hearing. Sarah had tried several hearing devices but she was never comfortable. Sometimes, there was too much noise around, other times the feedback wasn’t clear. But this time, it was the perfect fit.

Although she had just learned to hear, she always knew how to talk, and loved doing it.

16. An English Language Lover Who Loved To Talk

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Despite her hearing problem, Sarah had learned to speak in a deaf school. She was fitted with a hearing aid at the age of two and took several speech therapy sessions as a kid. But she excelled in the English language and grammar and loved to talk. Yet, there was one thing she never really enjoyed – her hearing aid.

15. Avoiding Hearing Aids For Long

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She avoided hearing aids for a very long time after growing up and even after meeting Sloan. “There’s always a constant roar, there’s always a constant hum,” she told Luis Pena, who has made a short film about her story. She knew she couldn’t avoid them forever though, she had young daughters after all.

She decided it was time to take the next steps if she was ever going to hear her children, but it was going to be a long process and she was going to be faced with many difficulties.

 14. She Wanted To Hear Her Daughters

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Sarah was certain that at some point, there would be some technology that would work for her and people would benefit from it. But it was only when she birthed two daughters that she feels a certain need for the ability to hear. “I was missing out on so much about my daughters because of my disability,” she shared. Yet, this was easier said than done.

13. Implant Cost Blurs Hopes

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When Sloan told her about the Esteem implant, she was excited. The treatment would cost $30,000 a year. She felt her hope quickly melting away since they just couldn’t afford that amount even with insurance. There seemed to be no way around it. In an instant, her dream of hearing seemed to slip away. Until one day, someone close decided to help her.

 12. Help Comes From A Close Kin

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Nevertheless, the Churmans decided to find the means to finance it, they were determined to make it happen. It was then that Sloan’s mother, Lari, intervened and decided she would do anything to help her daughter-in-law. Lari wasn’t a wealthy woman either, but she was ready to break her retirement fund to help out. It was 2011 when Sarah got the news, and she had to decide if she was going to accept the gift or not.

11. No Way

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Sarah couldn’t believe it. Sloan offered to pay every penny of this debt back but Lari said, “It isn’t a loan, it is a gift.” Sloan and Sarah just couldn’t agree to this but upon Lari’s insistence, decided to take the first round of the implant. What happened next doesn’t happen to people on an everyday basis.

10. There Was More

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Remember when we started telling you this story, we told you Sloan was filming Sarah’s reaction? Well, the couple posted the clip online in September 2011. The video has received 26 million views since and has encouraged a lot of hearing disabled and others around the world. Yet, Sarah’s story had one more twist.

9. More Fame To Follow

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Guess who watched this 90-second video? None other than Ellen DeGeneres who was so moved by the story that she decided to invite Sarah along with Sloan and Lari on the show. “It was the most moving thing that I’d ever seen,” Ellen said. Being guests on the show wasn’t the only gift Ellen had for Sarah and her family.

 8. Ellen Offers Sarah Her Biography

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Sarah shared her journey on the show and how she could finally get one part of the implant. As she talked about how she learned to talk and how much she loved to read, Ellen promptly asked her to read her (Ellen’s) biography. The audience felt like this was another ‘feel-good’ moment that Ellen often created on the show, and they were right.

7. Sarah Can Hear The Snoring

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Ellen joked to Sloan about how he felt now that his wife could hear his snoring. He said, “Well any time she could switch it off.” This completely got the audience roaring with laughter. This was only eight days after Sarah had her first experience with the implant. She didn’t think life could get any better, until…

 6. An Amazing Mother-in-Law

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It was during the show that the whole world learned about the generosity of Sarah’s amazing mother-in-law, Lari. When asked about the loan, Lari said, “Well Sarah is the most incredible daughter-in-law.” A round of applause followed as Sarah’s eyes filled with tears of joy and gratefulness. Sarah was about to witness something even more incredible.

5. Ellen Has A Thing For Generous People

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If you’ve ever seen Ellen’s show, you know a generous gift like Lari’s wouldn’t go unnoticed by its host. Ellen had promptly spoken to the Esteem implant team to forego the cost of Sarah’s next round of medical procedures while also offering Sarah and Lari a sum of $30,000. The entire audience was in need of tissues now.

It was a happy ending for Sarah, but also Lari, too.

 4. Lari Gets Her Due

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Ellen returned to Lari what was an integral part of her retirement fund. She also funded the next implant for Sarah, giving the family the gift they had all been hoping for. Upon hearing this, Lari couldn’t hold back her tears. Ellen invited the family on to the stage as they hugged.

The last time anyone heard from the family they were on the show, so you might be wondering, “what happened to this touching family?”.

3. Lari Goes Back To Her Simple Life

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“Lari has to be the best mother-in-law that I’ve ever heard of,” Ellen had said on the show. But Lari continues to live her life privately while Sarah has been invited by several organizations to share her story and encourage people.

Gaining popularity, Sarah decided to write a book detailing her story so that thousands could be touched by their journey.

 2. Sarah Releases Her Book

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Sarah went on to release her book, while many of her videos continued to go viral with people getting inspired by all the generosity surrounding the family. She is now a fashion consultant and occasionally interacts with her fans on her Facebook page. So the real question is, why is this story that happened nearly six years ago still so wildly popular?

1. A Story That Continues To Inspire

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Sarah is now 35 years old and her daughters are in high school. She owns her own lifestyle brand “The Groom Closet”. Her relationship with Lari has deepened since her implant because now she can hear Lari’s voice clearly. Meanwhile, Ellen recently re-shared the video of Churman’s guest spot in January 2016, which racked up 37,000 likes in just an hour – proving that her feel-good story still strikes a chord with everyone who hears it.