DEAR ABBY: We recently moved back to Texas to be closer to my parents, allowing me to spend some wonderful time with my 88-year-old grandfather. My letter is for all people who wear hearing aids. He has just returned with his digital hearing aid, and it is like he is alive again!
He tried many different kinds, and actually had a shoebox he threw them into when they didn't work. So far, this one has done the trick. He hears everything without having to adjust the volume. It doesn't pick up the background noise that he has always complained about.
He went running into the kitchen because he thought he heard the washing machine making a funny noise. It was actually the refrigerator motor. He said he hasn't heard that humming noise in years! He also told me he hears traffic noises he hasn't heard in quite some time. (A good thing!)
Please tell your readers not to throw away their old hearing aids because there are organizations that will take them. Doctors use them for children in poor countries. And please, Abby, urge anyone who has difficulty hearing not to be embarrassed to have their hearing checked. It could be the beginning of a whole new life. -- SUSAN IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
DEAR SUSAN: Hear, hear! An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some kind of hearing loss. I was once told about a sign hanging in an audiologist's office: "Your hearing loss is far more obvious to everyone else than your hearing aid will be."
Anyone with a hearing aid to donate should contact HEAR NOW, a national nonprofit organization that provides hearing aids to people with limited financial means. The hearing aids should be mailed in a small box or padded envelope to: HEAR NOW, 4248 Park Glen Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416. The contribution is tax deductible, so please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your receipt for tax purposes.