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Opinion Blog

Viral video combines hope, happiness, hearing

By Kellie Rowe          Posted: 01/10/12 3:39pm         

Recently I saw a portion of a video that was put into Google’s Zeitgeist 2011: Year In Review that touched my heart. Sarah Churman, a 29-year-old woman born deaf, received an ear implant and had a friend film the first time she heard herself speak. As the device was turned on, she laughed, and she was overcome by the sound. She broke into the happiest tears I’ve ever seen.

The video was so moving it was mentioned in Google’s Zeitgeist 2011: Year In Review, and if it hadn’t gone viral before, at more than nine million views, it is now. This is a perfect example of how the combination of hope and modern medical technology can not only save someone’s life, but their heart as well.

In her blog, Churman said she was speechless when she found herself in Google’s video. “I cannot even begin to formulate into words what an honor that was to be included. To further top it off, having the directors at Google tell me they were honored to have seen the video and been given permission to use it. Little old me,” she said.

This is exactly the type of video that belongs in a review meant to symbolize 2011 around the world. I think the footage of Churman shows such a beautiful moment that makes viewers glad they’ve had the privilege to see it.

The idea of American Sign Language, or ASL, and deaf or hard of hearing individuals seems to be infiltrating not only the internet, but television as well. ABC Family’s new series, “Switched at Birth,” tells the story of two girls who were misplaced in the hospital after birth and taken home by opposite families. One of the girls, Daphne, is deaf and quite a bit of the dialogue is spoken both aloud and using ASL.

Because ABC Family has so many viewers because of bigger shows like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” — which has the worst acting this theatre major’s seen in a long time — and “Pretty Little Liars,” this really allows a newer, younger audience to embrace ASL. The show almost forces you to fall in love with the characters — I know I did.

And because viewers care so much about the characters, they’re mad when the mean girl in Daphne’s class makes fun of her for being deaf, and they love watching Daphne and her good looking deaf best friend Emmett silently sign to each other. ABC Family’s new show really brings a greater appreciation for ASL and a better understanding of deaf or hard of hearing individuals to its viewers.

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