I’M SORRY … WHAT? – GARRY ARMSTRONG

This began as 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.


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??”

Postscript:

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.

31 thoughts on “I’M SORRY … WHAT? – GARRY ARMSTRONG

    • Dral, I did pick up flight controllers in my left ear one night while doing a complex live shot and fending off many suits in my right ear. Heavy drinking later that night.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sorry to hear that! 😉

    My hearing is ok, but my mother’s ( 85) not-so-much. I really love when i speak loudly so she can hear better and she grumbles back “I wish you wouldn’t mumble all the time”!!. She has hearing aids and wears them for the TV but not for when she’s out shopping or talking with me or her friends/relatives? She has her priorities of importance i guess.

    love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lwbut, I wear my hearings all the time except when I am shaving and showering. I get some relief while watching television. Marilyn got me headsets. They provide almost 3 dimensional hearing for me. I have to remember to take off the headset so Marilyn can chat with me.

      My ears are usually sore by late afternoon. The hearing aids are comfortable. It’s just nice to take them off and allow my ears to “breathe”. Also, during warm weather, my ears get sweaty and I must be meticulous in keeping the hearing aids dry and clean. Ditto my ears.

      Too much?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My mum wore hearing aids but had a phobia about putting anything inside her ear. She wore glasses so she had the sort with a hearing aid built into the frames. She would never wear a regular hearing aid because she did not like admitting she was deaf. The glasses made her feel that nobody would notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had no idea of your history with hearing loss. Love the story. I’m with you in the same tree house club. The world is a very noisy place. Some days it’s better with the hearing aids left on the night table. Nah! On those days Kay feels very alone. So glad you and Marilyn found your way beyond ‘alone’. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Gordon!! Marilyn has been speaking to me about you. You know the drill. Some days it’s depressing even with my assimilation and acceptance of my handicap.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Garry! I wish I didn’t understand, but I do. Some days the sounds are all mush. But I also know from the time my hearing was good that little of the mush is worth hearing. On the other hand, those of us who remember Vietnam, Watergate, Irangate, and the like have a context in which to “hear” the news of today’s incomparable White House madness. Just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean there’s no good reason to be depressed. But hope comes from deeper wells than circumstance. Peace, Brother!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gordon, it’s good to share with someone who truly empathizes. The hearing thing has been life long. I’ve previously written about how I turned it around and used the handicap as a catalyst to sharpen my speech and diction. THAT, in part, led to my career in radio and long stint as a tv news reporter.

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            • Yo, Gordon. My diction be way better than Jesse. Interestingly, with cameras and mics off, Jesse lost a lot of his “Bro” dialect in the times I interviewed him.

              BTW: I jumped into that email you sent Marilyn. Check it out.

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              • Yo back. Interesting what happens when the mics and cameras are off, huh. Jesse came to Decatur, IL who I was there to join a march that highlighted poverty in the city. How many times did you interview him?

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  4. One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons is the pointy-haired boss telling Dilbert and Wally he is going to send an email to Paul. Wally tells the boss to type in all caps because Paul is hard of hearing. Dilbert’s response: “That is messed up.” Just a little but it cracked me up.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Garry – It never occured to me that wearing hearing aids could make your on air job harder. How confusing! How did you filter out all the extraneous stuff and focus on what you had to report? You are amazing! I’d love to see some tapes of you as a reporter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ellin, I have a DVD of some of my work. It was done just after I “retired” and was still thinking about pursuing work. So, it’s about 16 plus years old. If you’re interested, I’ll bring a copy when we come down for our “Summer” visit. Just promise you won’t laugh, giggle or smirk. I haven’t watched my stuff for a long time. It’s like veteran actors/actresses who don’t watch their old films.

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