This is a lengthy comment to a blog posted by the imminent eminent wordsmith known as Evil Squirrel.  Squirrel’s blog For whom the Beltones ... was a humorous look at the history of aids for the hearing-impaired and the advertising of the 1980s.

Squirrel, this is truly evil. Maybe even blatantly racist if I can find an angle. I love it! You’re yelling to the choir with this one.

garry and tom walpole TV

As you may know, I have needed hearing aids since I was a kid, back to the days when they were the small portable radios with a wire and earpiece. It was damned humiliating for a young guy.

As time went by, technology upgraded me to tiny, all in the ear aids. They were invisible on TV so it was great for me since I wore my aids all the time at work — except when I did live shots. Then, I had to replace one of my hearing aids with the IFB thingy which allowed everyone to talk directly into my head. Everyone could — and did — talk at the same time.

Sometimes there were two or three dozen people talking and shouting into my IFB as I calmly did my live reports. And smiled.

Often (simultaneously), the other hearing aid would pick up frequencies from nearby radio towers. I had a myriad TV people shouting into my IFB while Air Traffic Controllers yelled into my hearing aid. I calmly delivered the live reports. Then I went out for a few drinks.


Marilyn actually saw and heard a tape of one of these live shots, The station had accidentally recorded the stuff coming in through the IFB instead of the sound track for the story. She was awed. How could I function during all the clamor? Looking back, I’m awed too. I’m an awesome guy. That’s why they paid me the big bucks (not).

I interviewed Eddie Albert when he was filming “Yes, Giorgio” in Boston. Eddie was sunbathing along the Charles River. He smiled when he caught a glimpse of my tiny hearing aids. Pulled his out for comparison. A lot of “WHAT?” went down that day.

Fast forward to the present, I have the current behind the ears model hearing aids. My hearing is getting worse.

Huh? Can you hear me now??”

Garry with Terriers - Dogs


I didn’t always wear my hearing aids on a regular basis. Back then, it was worse (much) than being called “four eyes”. One night changed my whole attitude.

My date had reached that critical point where you wonder if “it” will happen. The lady answered my query. I misheard her answer.

End of evening.

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.

47 thoughts on “WHAT? – GARRY ARMSTRONG”

  1. Now that last situation might be where it would be helpful to have an IFB full of voices in one ear at all times. Kind of an “ear in the sky” to help pick up what you might have missed. They have seeing eye dogs… why not hearing ear squirrels, or something like that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Squirrel, you started all of this!
      Hearing aid squirrels? It’s a concept. Quiet! I have controllers trying to land three planes in my right hearing aid.
      Go for it, Squirrel…


    1. Fate, hell! Always wore the hearing aids after that incident. If dates didn’t go well, couldn’t blame them on hearing aids. Then, again……

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting how at one time a kid with a hearing aid in his or her ear was teased, and now every second kid has iPhone or iPad buds stuffed into their ears. Consider yourself a trendsetter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Time, technology and reality have erased the scourge of hearing aids. It was also a vanity thing. I can even cope with my receding hair line and bald spots. Well, almost.


      1. Of course it is depressing. We are experiencing losses all the time. It is only when we can laugh about it that we attain some sort of victory over it. We are all on the same track and it is most definitely down hill. Death is the number one killer. No getting around that one.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Leslie, you are right about the perspective thing. We are very aware of it these days, losing relatives and friends at an alarming rate. Goes with the territory at our age. But it’s good to discuss hearing loss. More people need to share. I appreciate the comments.


  3. My first husband was profoundly deaf. He grew up in a poor mountain village. His family were not able to afford a hearing aid until he was in his teens. His school work was non existent and he has struggled to cope with his hearing aids all his life. My children were tested at birth but luckily didn’t have any hearing difficulties. His mother had German Measles during his pregnancy. I lost some of my hearing due to a fire cracker getting caught in my hair. I have a hearing aid but don’t wear it. Just too loud for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raewyn, the hearing difficulties also run in my family. I’m the oldest of three brothers. My middle brother’s hearing is worse than mine. My youngest brother has PERFECT hearing and is director of the world-acclaimed St. Olaf Choir.
      I took speech therapy courses in college and worked very hard on my diction. Ironically, this enabled me to be successful as a radio and tv news reporter. I’ve always been very careful about my diction even in relaxed, social company.
      These days, I wear my two hearing aids a minimum of 14-16 hours a day. I have headsets for TV watching but I minimize their use when Marilyn and I are together. It’s a relief when I finally take them off before getting into bed.


  4. Oh my goodness. I loved your “long comment” Garry! I’ve always been aware that presenters, or anchors or live reporters et al, had producers in their ears constantly, but did not know about the outside noise. Air Traffic controllers battling with the show’s producers must have been fun…not. Your closing revelation, about the date, literally made me laugh out loud. Thankfully Burger King is practically deserted… Going to reblog this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike, the inside of my head was like a circus in those days. Between producers, directors and other “suits” screaming at me simultaneously into the IFB and traffic controllers guiding airplanes into my hearing aid, it was always “show time”. My hearing aid would also pick up local TV and radio stations. Focus, obviously, was a big deal. I also had to deal with the “mix-minus” gremlin. That’s when you hear yourself in feedback. No wonder I had to fortify myself with libation!
      The date story will never, ever be forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you!! Marilyn can work on her computer while watching TV. I can only watch TV or read. Not both at the same time unless it’s a sporting event (BASEBALL). My multi tasking days are history.

          Liked by 1 person

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