Thursday, October 13, 2011

Q & A.......

Okay, so I've done what everyone has said not to do................I've gotten sucked in to reading all the comments on my YouTube video. (Bad idea, I know!) Anyway, I really feel like I should clear some things up, so I'll take the most popular questions and answer them now:


Q: (Of course the MOST popular) "How do you know how to talk?"

A: I'd like to start off by pointing out that people who are hard of hearing or deaf do not have a lower IQs. I sometimes feel like the mean people posting comments actually think this...... Anyway, everyone is different. Everyone heals differently, everyone learns differently, and everyone excels at different things. I personally have always LOVED to read and write. English and Grammar have always been something I have enjoyed. I also enjoy talking! (Big shocker to those who know me huh? NOT! Lol.) I have worked very hard to overcome and to speak well. I went to deaf ed school when I was very young, then on to public school where I took speech classes and therapy. I don't think people realize how intently I read lips. When you read lips, you are studying how people move their mouths, where they place their tongue (and for those of you with tongue rings, yes, you trip me up) and their teeth. It's a skill I have had 29 years to hone. People with accents are hard to read, they move their mouths a different way then us Americans do. People with facial hair throw me off constantly. There are even those who don't move their mouths when they speak (Yes, that can actually happen!) Then you have the ones who mumble or speak quietly. I absolutely cannot talk to anyone under the influence of drugs..............those people's mouths move all sorts of wacky! Lol. When I was younger I got made fun of quite a bit for the way I talked. I said certain words funny, and I'm still told I say certain words funny. Guess what though? It's me. It's a part of who I am.
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Q: What kind of music have I been listening to?

A: ALL KINDS! Lol. I'm really just now able to even enjoy it. For the first week I got horrible feedback if I even tried listening. My brain is still acclimating to the noises it's hearing, and I am slowly getting used to it. At this point, live music sounds WAY better than recorded. While in NYC I sat on a street corner and listened to a Peruvian band play. That was awesome. I could actually make a distinction between each individual instrument, whereas before music was just all one jumbled sound. We have a good friend in a band, and his music is really good. It's eclectic, and I like that. Check him out: Josh Weathers and the True Endeavors.
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Q: "How did she know what the doc was saying without looking at her mouth?"

A: Um. I got my ear turned on :) How do YOU know what people are saying? You HEAR them. I don't mean to be rude, but really? I don't know, I can't explain the brain or how it works. I just know my ear works and I heard her clear as a bell. (which was awesome) I've always been able to hear some noise if it was loud enough with my hearing aids, just not able to make a distinction as to what people were actually saying. If you covered your mouth, I couldn't read your lips. The best way I know to explain it is like this.; if you went to a foreign country and someone spoke to you, you'd know they were talking because you can hear something, but you have no idea what they are actually saying. Hope that helps.
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I think those were the top 3 questions. I probably forgot something, but I'm done for now. We went to Dallas this morning for the Fox News Fox & Friends show. That was absolutely nerve wracking. They didn't go over anything with me beforehand, so I had no clue what to expect. Sloan says I always forget to smile, but it's mostly due to nervousness and then because I'm still new at this whole hearing and understanding the words thing and I'm so used to needing to read lips that I kind of get off kilter. I promise I'm really a 'smiley' person. Just ask anyone who knows me. I'm definitely a 'cup half full' kinda gal. Anyway, that's it for now. I wasn't really in a 'blogging' kind of mood, but felt led to do these questions. Thanks everyone for following along on this journey. It's been amazing :)

36 comments:

  1. Hey Sarah: Im so glad u cleared all this up, hopefully with this people will stop asking rude questions. I guess part of it is people looking for attention, part of it is ignorance, and the other part just plain rude, but I was getting fed up of the whole "how can she speak?" I kept on thinking to myself uhmm she's deaf not mute, deaf people can talk, some of them might have a bit of an speech impediment, but that doesnt mean they cannot communicate, now on the video of your interview with Ellen I did notice you have a bit of an impediment, however it impresses me how articulate you are, I guess a big congratulations goes to the teachers n speech therapists that worked with you, and of course a bigger CONGRATULATIONS to you, I commented this on your video and I'll say it again I almost cried when u started crying in the video. Anyways I just wanted to conclude by saying that I look up to those who have overcomed challenges in their lives, I guess you could say you are someone to look up to.

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  2. Ps- I forgot to add this, I've noticed some people on the video that have been commenting saying "fake", all I will say about that is, that not only is it rude to you, but I think its very rude to anyone with a common sense I dont think Ellen or any other tv show or media would have given u an interview if it was fake. Speaking of the interview on Ellen I thought it was pretty awesome that the company offered to do the next one for free, and that they reimbursed you on the first one.

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  3. your video was strong. the best of the year until now...

    i wanna give something to u: since ur kinda amateur in listen things... its a brazilian music: http://grooveshark.com/s/O+Meu+Guri/3Gbv2Q?src=5

    If u want more, keep in touch... congrats and see ya... :p

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  4. Your video made me cry over and over again. Its so beautiful! (even posted it on Facebook lol)

    the above Brazilian song ^^ its nice :) Im brazilian and grew up listening to stuff like this because of my parents.

    But, if we are suggesting songs now, you should listen to Eisley lol!

    God really blessed your life, and like u said in your other blog, insurance should really cover these things! I have a son he's 9 months old, and I couldnt imagine how it felt to hear your daughters for the first time! God is truly incredible to give man this intelligence.

    God bless your life and your family as well, hope settling into this new season of your life goes smoothly.

    And forget all the rude comments on youtube, they need a little more faith :)

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  5. Thanks for blogging and sharing your story!

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  7. Hi Sarah -- after seeing you on the Ellen show, I immediately forwarded the link to my professor who teaches Audiology. I told him I hoped he would share you story with his class to show how much of an impact an Audiologist and Speech Therapist can have on a person's everyday life. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really enjoy reading your posts! I pray for success in all that you do.

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  8. Sarah, your video touched my heart. Thank your hubby for filming it. Much love and prayer to you and yours, PapaG

    http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/bio-from-felon-to-seminary-grad/

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  9. Hi Sarah! Thank you for taking us on your amazing journey and letting us experience something we would otherwise never be able to. I hope you keep writing and sharing your experiences with us, especially when you get your other ear implant.

    As far as all the "doubters" out there, not all of them have dark motives. There are many, MANY frauds spread over the Internet, as sites like snopes.com show every day. I think many people have gotten used to assuming something is bogus unless proven otherwise. I'm kind of like that myself, but I could tell your video was the real thing when I saw it.

    Thanks again for sharing such a personal story with a few million of us. Many have commented about how they regret the high cost of the device and how they wish everyone who needs this could get it. I might suggest you use your celebrity to draw attention to a charity of your choice that would help pay for more of these life-changing experiences.

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  10. im glad you cleared a misconception up. the youtube description was just a tad misleading. A lot of people thought it was your 1st time hearing so they didnt know why you understood what the lady said.

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  11. Hey Sarah! I noticed from one of your pictures on Ellen that your daughter wears an amber necklace! My son wears one too. =]
    What kind of parenting style do you follow?

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  12. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I'm a scientist and engineer and studied the inner ear when I was a freshman. I designed a fish spinner that would spin these odd fish with inner ears kind of like people. Rick Rabbitt of the University of Utah was the professor. He was studying the fluid flow patterns in the ear and the mechanical stresses on the hairs in there. It is so nice to hear that the research by all these scientists works. I hope you have a lifetime of joyous sounds. The joy of hearing my 6 children daily will seem more poignant to know that you couldn't hear yours before. God bless you.

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  13. First things first: this background color is making my eyes dizzy.
    I don't know you, but I saw your video and must say I found it so gratifying seeing you there, being extremely happy :)
    Now, to the stars!

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  14. Hi Sarah! Just wanted to let you know that I have watched your video and it made me cry. It's very touching and I'm so glad you're able to hear. I was born with hearing loss myself and the doctors were always amazed at how I can speak perfectly normal. People need to learn more before they decide to judge. I also went through all the lip reading and I always enjoyed reading! A lot of people have that impression that we aren't as smart as other people but those people are just ignorant. When we apply ourselves, we can learn just as much as other people.

    Hang in there :)

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  15. So awesome for you! I think you should post your interview on Ellen on your youtube account so people will see your video isn't fake and so they can understand why you speak so well. :)

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  16. WOW !!!

    What a story is this!!!

    Just a once in a while kinda story, it made me shiver all over. Congratulations with something i have always taken for grantage.

    I have an small advice ;-)
    Please, please, start listening to house music on a decent soundsystem, best with vinyl records. House music is pure magic because your own imagination can fill in every ayer of the music. Try some different styles (house, techno, popualir mainstream stuff i personally don't like!).
    Artist like Matthew Dear are wonderfull !

    Well, have fun with the ears, and be carefull, wear ear protection when you go clubbing ;-)

    All the best!

    Sytze

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  17. I. Never saw this and posted elsewhere. But please note I am not being rude nor do I hold a outmoded view of dead people but I do have a query about sound. Mayne this is what some of those say "how do you know how to talk". Were amazed or baffled by. I'll post it below. Maybe you can explain how it worked for you.


    I think it's great that you are happy. I have a question maybe you can explain. I know you can lip read, so you understand English that way an through writing but having NEVER hear it, when the woman first spoke to you how did you know what she was saying? I ask because you would have no knowledge of what the shapes in the mouth would sound like.

    Have you needed to lip read at the same time to build up an understanding. Did it now sound like what a foreign language sounds to the rest of us. Noises but no ideawhat they're saying.


    Just wondering as it's very exciting for you and i would like to know how it works.

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  18. Deaf people . Damn mobile typing. Excuse any other mistakes

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  19. BoristheSpie, watch the video carefully. The only question Sarah answers immediately is "Can you hear me?" by nodding her head. The nurse then asks her if her voice is too loud, and she initially does not answer the question, but uncovers her eyes no doubt to read lips when the question is repeated. The nurse then asks a third question if she wants to hear her husband say anything, to which Sarah does not respond at all.

    I expect all deaf people with even a little residual hearing would have heard the words "Can you hear me?" at least 10,000 times by the age of 29, and could recognize those words even if muffled, which is why she could understand that question without looking. The other questions were less clear to her, as you can see in the video.

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  20. Hi Sarah, please forgive my ignorance.

    I can just about comprehend that someone without hearing could learn to speak, but I don't understand how you could learn to speak with a flawless American accent.

    I also don't understand how you could understand speech, without having ever having heard it.

    I also don't understand how you would know the sound of a beep.

    Learning to decipher sounds as language is a skill that takes all of us several years to master. I hope you can understand our incredulity. It's an unbelievable feat.

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  21. Ah, I just noticed the part about having some small amount of residual hearing through hearing aids. That explains a lot! Thanks!

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  22. In all things there will be those who doubt. In all things there will be those who believe. You are either an actor worthy of the hollywood elite, or you experienced what for almost the entire extent of human history would have been called miraculous. I hope that hearing brings you joy for the rest of your life, and I want to thank you for sharing such a powerful moment of your life with so many people.

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  23. I dont think its rude to ask how you know how to speak. No one is implying you are illiterate or cannot read or write. The question comes up soleley due to speech being a matter of mocking sounds. We all (the hearing world) spent time as infants learning sounds by making them, developing the muscles in our tongues and lips and then began repeating sounds we had heard. It takes a lot of time yet you can do it although you claimed to be deaf. However, deaf, as in unable to hear, is completely different than hearing loss. Sounds more like you had extreme hearing loss almost to the point of being deaf, but not quite. As someone with a hearing deficiency myself I know the solution up until this point has been solely to amplify volume. This approach is not only incorrect it's also potentially harmful and higher decibels can cause permanent ear damage. It's good to hear there is another solution that fixes the problem and is not just a bandaid. Congratulations on your miraculous success. Perhaps God gave you the disability simply for the purpose of being the first to show it to the world and perhaps open up an opportunity to witness to a lot of people. All my best.

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  24. "I've always been able to hear some noise if it was loud enough with my hearing aids, just not able to make a distinction as to what people were actually saying."

    That explains my questions... as a matter of fact this is what makes it possible for you to hear and understand the sound. If you wasn't able to hear like this, you would have such a underdeveloped hearing center in your brain that you would never be able to understand, it would take time for you to learn how to hear. Just as the website says " "Esteem® recipients state that it takes time to become familiar with sounds and also to identify what they are hearing. Your brain learns to identify sounds again with Esteem®." taken from: http://www.envoymedical.com/what-to-expect-in-the-first-6-months

    But since you have been able to hear a little, your brain should have received stimuli your entire life and now should be able to understand some sound, without practicing to understand sound.

    This has giving me a lot of headaches, good thing you wrote this!

    Oh, you might consider adding that you had some small amount of residual hearing, to the description of the video. That will explain a lot of things for disbeliever that actually knows what they are talking about...

    To the disbeliever who don't know what they are talking about... well, their loss.

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  25. Thanks for nice post, i like your post and i wan't to share with my friends.your blog is very nice and i like it. PHYSICIANS AUDIOLOGY CENTER information for visit this website-PHYSICIANS AUDIOLOGY CENTER

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  26. on the ellen show the pictures of you with your family where did the tattoos go ??

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    1. They used some photos that were older and I didn't have my sleeve then :)

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  27. I guess I'm out of the loop... but I don't even understand what is happening in the video. Did you have a procedure done? An implant? Did you have any hearing prior to that moment? I was surprised that when spoken to, you answered so fluidly -- which made me realize I had no idea what you were holding to your head. Can you please explain the basics? I'd love to understand your journey better. And I love your video -- your genuine emotion is very inspirational!

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  28. This is not fake.

    You cannot compare the activation of the Envoy Esteem Implant to that of a Cochlear Implant. They are completely different implants for different hearing impairments and even use different hearing pathways. The Esteem is much more natural so of course it's much easier for someone to understand immediately at activation. It's hard for someone to understand speech immediately after CI activation.

    I think people are getting confused due to the popularity of cochlear implants and the lack of information on the Esteem. That is where the "rude" people come from. They are comparing Sarah's story to a CI candidate's story, which are very different. =)

    Congratulations Sarah (delayed by a few years =P)! Envoy Medical has really done an amazing thing to restore hearing in this way and I'm so happy they helped you out financially, too!

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  29. I do have a question though. From what your husband said in a video, Sarah, when he snores he said "I think she turns it off". Was that a joke? Or do you have some sort of control over the device?

    From what I understood from the Envoy Medical website (http://envoymedical.com/the-esteem-implant/indications/) the device is always on and working and batteries would be replaced every couple years requiring a minor incision.

    Can you explain if this is accurate?

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    1. Hello :) Thank you for your previous post. As for my device, I do have a remote! I'm finding that I'm kind of an 'odd man out' because I do turn mine off at night. I've gotten so used to my comfortable cocoon of silence to sleep in.....that I just can't leave it on. Every noise startles me and jump starts my heart, and Sloan's snoring is incredible.

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    2. Thanks Sarah! This goes a long way for me understanding this technology. All the best!

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