This is me. James Rabe. And I'm trying to show you my hearing aids from Amy Swain Hearing Centers.

Well, specifically the Amy Swain Hearing Center in Rochester, on 2nd Street, just past the Kwik Trip on the left hand side. Doug Freeman is my guy. He fit me up and I can hear things I hadn't before.

I can hear things like water trickling into the storm drain, a sound that means spring is here! Or my sister when she's talking in the kitchen, but turns away for a minute or two.

But this isn't about how much I love these amazing hearing aids, or Doug's fantastic customer service.

This is about me. And wanting big, bright hearing aids. A lot of people don't want you to see their hearing aids. They want 'em as small as possible, and as well hidden as can be. Which I get.

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But that's not my way. Out loud. I live out loud. And I want to be able to let people know hearing aids aren't something to be embarrassed about. You'd go in to have your collar bone reset, so, if you used to hear great, and now not so much, why not do the same?

When I first wore a pair of hearing aids, back in 2009, it was amazing to hear what I'd been missing. Fountains,,,the TV...a movie!

RochMN location courtesy Amy Swain. Click for link.

Then I went to Amy Swain and discovered there was a world I'd still been missing. Little things I had no idea I was missing. You see, in the world of hearing loss, you can loose it a little at a time. And I did. So gradually, in fact, I never noticed they were slipping away.

Birds, and rain...oh, rain!  The first rainfall with hearing aids was such a powerful experience.

I heard the thunder, the rain the cars splashing thru puddles. Just mind-blowing.

Anyway, the experience has been so good for me, so positive, I wanted everyone to know, so I switched to bright red hearing aids. I figured everyone'd see 'em, and maybe people with trouble hearing might ask me about them.

People ask about them, but not because they see 'em. They mostly don't see them. They're so small, and I'm tall, so I often have to be sitting, or lean down, so people can see them. Even people with hearing aids are surprised I have 'em.

Finally, you can see it!

That's a testament to both their teeny-tinyness, and Doug Freeman's care and attention during fitting.

The only time it made me sad they couldn't be seen? When I was visiting one of my favorite students, Ponyo, at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind. She's one of those students you make a connection with and end up loving. She's amazingly fierce, and powerfully funny.

Anyway, I made a surprise visit to the school, and she was so excited. And I was so excited. And...she didn't notice 'em. Being a sixth grader, her's are large (much easier to find if lost on the playground) and super blinged out with color and glitter.

So, even people attuned to looking for such things didn't see 'em.

I guess that means...if you're worried about people noticing your wearing hearing aids, forget it. I TRY to get noticed, and no one sees 'em. Maybe I need to wear a sign. "Ask me about how I hear!'