Sixteen days ago 29-year-old Sarah Churman posted a video of herself hearing her voice loud and clear for the first time after being implanted with Envoy Medical’s Esteem device. The video went viral, sales have spiked and Churman and Envoy have shared the spotlight on The Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres, Fox and Friends, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, among others. The story was also covered on 150 local television stations, and the media attention keeps coming: MSNBC will be doing a story at Churman’s house.
Envoy already spends around $8 million to $10 million a year on radio advertising with announcers including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage. Company CEO Patrick Spearman said as a result of the video big-name celebrities have approached Envoy about getting the device. Spearman thinks that development could lead to television appearances as well as television advertising.In short, it was a good deal for Envoy Medical to help re-imburse Sarah the $30,000 she spent on the hearing aid implant and will cover for free for Sarah's second implant for her other ear. The viral video was after all basically free advertising for the company's product.
A few days ago Sarah answered a few questions of her own in her own blog. Today, more questions were answered regarding the many complaints saying the whole video was fixed, for example.
In addition to an increase in media exposure and sales, the video also led to a lot of skepticism. Critical anonymous online commenters accused Envoy of creating the video as a marketing strategy. Envoy has posted around 20 to 25 similar videos themselves in the past, though none of them had the same impact as Churman’s.
Did Envoy have something to do with it?
“Absolutely not,” Spearman said. “It was a surprise to us.”
Churman’s husband posted it to YouTube “thinking his family and friends would watch it and people were so touched by it that all of a sudden it went viral,” Spearman said.
Envoy Medical has since given Churman a free device for her other ear.
“It’s basically a reimbursement for her time,” Spearman said, pointing out that she’s been flying all over the country for television appearances.That's what I said, too, about how the video was meant for her family and didn't expect it to go viral.
And then you have the doubts that Sarah could not be deaf (well, she is, so get over it) only because she speaks so clearly or how she could hear her own voice for the first time because, darn it, it's an impossibility!
“The definition of deaf is somewhat of a range,” Spearman said. “If you have a severe hearing loss, you’re considered deaf, anything over a 70 decibel loss.
“The skepticism, you’re always going to have people who are skeptical but the reason is because she said I heard my voice for the first time. Well, what she heard was her real voice, the same way you and I hear our own voice. She could hear something [before]. Not a lot, and not very well, but she could hear tones and sounds or she wouldn’t be able to speak. And that’s where this came from, people saying, ‘Well, she’s not deaf.’
“Well, it’s just a matter of semantics and how you define deaf, but she basically has a severe hearing loss because I’ve obviously seen her audiogram. She had a 70 to 75 decibel loss at 1500 to 2000 hertz, and that’s a severe hearing loss.”Not the full detail of her audiogram but I'm happy with it though I didn't feel the need to question her so harshly or unnecessarily.
There you have it folks. Pretty much all in a nutshell with most questions answered. She's deaf. She can speak really well. The viral video isn't a fake and was never a ploy set up by Envoy Medical. And she can finally hear very well with the help of her new implantable hearing aid.
Time for people to move on and stop speculating and nitpicking, and be happy for Sarah just for once. Welcome her with open arms.