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??”


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.


  1. I hear now about half of what, in my prime, I used to be able to hear. Often, when people say something to me, particularly in a place with a lot of ambient noise, like a restaurant, and I can’t hear what they said, rather than making them repeat themselves, I just smile and nod and hope that such a gesture is an appropriate response for whatever it is they said to me. So far, it seems to be working.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think about hearing aids occasionally, but between closed captioning on TV, eating in restaurants less frequently, and having an understanding group of friends, I can’t justify the cost/benefit…especially now that I’m retired.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There are places that offer very significant discounts on good quality hearing aids. These places are designed for retired people because most of us don’t happen to have a few thousand dollars for aids. If you’re interested, let me know. If you’re not extremely deaf, it might not be as expensive as you think.

          Also, I got Garry wireless headphones for our two televisions. He can really HEAR using them. One of my best every investments — and not very expensive, either.


    1. Fandango, as you probably know, those conversations can be very dicey. It’s better, easier to be upfront with people. I say this from experience and lessons learned the hard way. Sometimes when I’m in a “Why me?” self pity funk, I force myself to remember people who have far more severe disabilities. I’m still not right as rain but more appreciative of my life.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I should think medicare or aarp or something similar would be able to defray part of the cost. It may not sound like a big deal, but to people who are close to you it’s major. really.

    My mother lost part of her hearing as a young woman, and for decades she managed to blame everyone around her for mumbling. She would interrupt sentences, miss cues, insist that ‘You never TOLD me”, on and on. Once she finally got her hearing aids life improved for everyone she knew.

    My husband is in a strange kind of denial as well, even knowing he’s lost half his hearing; he gets mad at ME for having to repeat my sentences. Now and then to enrage him further I mouth the words…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Garry gets mad at me for shouting at him. I’m shouting because he can’t HEAR me when I talk normally. He is only in occasional denial. Mostly, he knows. He might be eligible for a cochlear implant — and we have mixed feeling about it because, it’s surgery and you just never know at our ages. Sigh. Everything is complicated, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I plead guilty to shouting at people when I’m the one responsible for not hearing something correctly. It IS complicated!! You want to blame someone for your disability. In the moment of lashing out, I have internal regret because I know I’m wrong. But the words are already flying out of my mouth. Yeesh!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I lost 85% of my hearing in one ear when I was about 35 years of age. I’ve had two hearing aids over that span of time since, and I don’t wear the newest one most of the time. I live alone, am retired, and hubby is long gone (R.I.P.) and can’t chide me for misinterpretation of his words or my own mumbling any more (he was deafer than I am. This I know.). The aid, though small and similar to the one you’ve pictured in this post, annoys me greatly because it enhances sounds I’d rather not hear (like the squalling child in the back of the church) and muffles the stuff I want to hear (the speaker at the front of the church). So now I sit way down in front, sans aid and hope for the best. I’m losing my hearing in the other ear now, and know that soon I’ll have to either buy new aids (and figure out how to keep my ears from itching so severely that it drives me a little mad) or isolate completely, thereby negating the need for them. My father was stone deaf at the end of his life and he survived without them (perhaps out of self defense against my mother, whom he did NOT want to hear anyway), so I suspect I can too. Thanks for the most informative and interesting post..and the reference to that Squirrel person.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Embeecee, I CLEARLY hear and understand your problems. It’s hard for those who don’t have hearing problems and can’t walk in our shoes (Walk THIS way!), I’m so happy the conversation is open and people are discussing the problem openly.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Leslie, the restaurant scenario is perhaps my biggest peeve for those of us who are hard of hearing — DEAF. I’ve discussed my problem with restaurant managers. Sometimes they put me in an area where the background music is somewhat muted but it’s still hard to hear conversation because of all the surrounding ambient noise. I try to stay in the moment — diffuse my anger and enjoy the company of friends. It’s so damn frustrating!!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At this stage of the game most of are losing our hearing to some degree. In this situation nobody could hear anything but the roar of the crowd. We couldn’t carry on a conversation at all and it was frustrating!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You just can’t win! You either miss out or mishear (like with your lady friend – who missed out on that one? you or her?) without the aids or hear garbage along with the important stuff when you do! 😉

    The people close to you can’t win either getting blamed for mumbling when they are speaking as per normal or for shouting after they have had to repeat the same line 3 times.

    It’s a no win/no win situation i fear?

    The cochlear implants might be the best way to go but how many of us would go for one? Or could afford one? 😦

    Good you opened the convo though! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, you are right (again) about “no win” in hearing problems. In retrospect, as I’ve shared many times, I used my hearing problems as a vehicle/impetus to improve my diction which gave me an advantage in pursuing work in TV news. Folks always marvelled at my diction. “You speak so well!” , of course, was a not so subtle racial dig that’s become a long running inside joke.


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