The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

March 15, 2013

Hearing implant to allow woman to hear first musical at Texas Theater

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Severely hearing impaired since birth, North Texan Sarah Churman had learned to cope in a world where sounds came as white noise or as if they were under water. When Sarah was 29 she received a surgical implant that changed her life. Today, she can hear the birds singing, her two daughters playing and her husband’s snoring.

Sarah will soon hear her first live musical at the historic Texas Theater on Saturday.

Sarah, her husband Sloan, and their two daughters will be special guests for the opening night performance of the Palestine Community Theatre’s production of “Ghosts: The Musical.”

In 2011, Sarah had surgery to implant a new device, The Esteem, into each ear. Her mother-in-law cashed in her retirement to pay part of the $60,000 bill.

Before Sarah and her husband, Sloan, left for the hospital to have the surgery, Churman's mother-in-law made one request of her son — film Sarah’s reaction to hearing for the first time. The 90-second clip has gone viral, having been viewed more than 15 million times.

Soon after the video went viral, Sarah was featured on Ellen. She has now written a memoir titled, “Powered On.”

Sarah will be at Old Magnolia Merchantile in downtown Palestine to sell and sign her book at 11 a.m. Saturday during the Dogwood Trails Festival.

“Powered On” is the true story of Sarah’s transition from a life without natural hearing to a new world of sound. In this deeply personal work, she reveals what it means to experience both sides of a disability — including the remarkable life skills and lessons she gained from years of being “inside herself,” the joys inherent in listening, and the importance of tuning out certain noises in the commotion that surrounds us all.

Sarah also has been invited to watch the Anderson County Roughnecks play at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Palestine High School Stadium.

“Join Sarah at the Texas Theater and be part of a historical and moving event,” a PCT news release said. “The (opening night) Gala begins at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary hors d'oeuvres from Chef Simon at Sabor a Pasion and East Texas-made wines from Sweet Dreams Winery. The curtain opens at 7:30 p.m.”

Tickets for “Ghost: The Musical” are available from Education Unlimited, Dogwood Diner and the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets also can be purchased online via Outhouse Tickets at