Charlotte Woman Gets Hearing Aid for First Time

Every day, 81-year-old Rosemary Tate would miss out on her favorite sounds.

“They play Christmas music at the place where I live all day long and everybody’s talking about how beautiful it is and I’m not even hearing it and I love Christmas music,” said Tate.

She started losing her hearing about five years ago, with hearing in one ear now completely gone.

“I’ve known it for awhile, but just in the last six months it seems to have gotten so much worse.  It makes things very difficult,” said Tate.

Things like conversations with her 21 nieces and nephews. She finds it embarrassing having people repeat themselves multiple times.

“People don’t like having to repeat themselves that much," Tate said.

But she’s hopeful a high-tech hearing aid will change that.

“I’ll be able to understand the kids when they talk," Tate said.

The Bell Tone Foundation, a not-for-profit, is donating the hearing aid to Tate. The device can cost anywhere from two- to seven- thousand dollars and insurance typically doesn’t cover much of it.

“I was just heart-broken,” said Dr. Eric Hanse, Hearing Care Professional. “Here was this gal, this wonderful woman who just can’t function the way she wants, the way she deserves to.”

So he got work help Rosemary be able to hear everything around her crystal clear.

“What’s fascinating about it is how something so little can make someone so happy,” said Dr. Hanse. He says it’s not just about helping people to hear, but also helping them to reconnect with others. “Enjoying time with her sister, her sister’s children, being able to talk - that’s a worthwhile connection and worthwhile for life.”

“When you get back to your place, you’ll be able to hear all those great Christmas songs!” Dr. Hanse told Tate.

“That was lovely [to hear],” said Tate about some Christmas music Dr. Hanse played for her in her office after putting in the hearing aid. “It really was."

A neat little tidbit about Tate’s hearing aids: They’re one of few that can actually connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth.