In the summer of 1997 I came down to Freeport to see if I could find work and relocate from central Maine – a venue that just was not working for me. Interestingly, I had not considered LL Bean, but as I drove past the employment office on Desert Road, I made a U-turn and went in to fill out an application. They hired me that day.

Soon I was sitting in a training meeting at which a woman was making a presentation in a soft “woman’s” voice and I soon realized that I had a problem. I didn’t understand half of what she said. At about the same time I was asked to house sit for a friend and look after an old curmudgeon of a cat, whose name was Frank. On the last night of this assignment, I laid in bed and watched TV. I’ll never forget the movie: a mythological piece depicting the first Marine victory after Pearl Harbor. It was appropriately entitled, Gung Ho! When my friends returned and laid in that same bed and turned on the TV, they said the volume blew out the windows.

The evidence was in: I was seriously deaf. I didn’t hear it coming.

Fifteen years later and three sets of hearing aids into what has turned into a profound disability – if you count not being able to hear thunder a disability – I am now trying out my fourth set of whiz bang, cutting edge, state of the art instruments that, I am told, can think for themselves. Did I tell you before? I love technology. I just can’t afford it.

Most insurances won’t touch hearing aids. They’ll replace your heart for about $700,000 to $800,000, but at best will only tip you for the cost of hearing aids – if they help at all. This new set cost the price of a good used pickup truck. It would be nice to have a good pickup. But I’d rather hear you say my name.

Yes – it could be worse, and I am truly grateful that is isn’t.

I’ll never forget the first time I wore hearing aids. I was amazed at how noisy my old truck was. I walked around Bradbury Mountain listening to the wind in the trees. My eyes filled with tears as I began to hear what everyone else took for granted.

Protect your ears.

1 Comment

  1. Roger Merchant

    Thanks GB…Blew my ears out on playing in a R&R band and chainsawing blow-downs on the AT… My wife on any walk asks, "can you hear the birds? What!" So, I’m saving some bucks to put in some of those new fangeled amplifiers in my ears. I too miss the bird songs….Roger, over and out

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