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‘Hear for the Holidays’

Article Published: Dec. 15, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 31, 2011

The second annual Hear for the Holidays Contest, presented by Blue Ridge Ear, Nose and Throat Inc. and The Mountain Times, has two finalists.

For the last month, BRENT has sought Mountain Times readers who would most benefit from a free pair of hearing aids and follow-up services.

Contestants were to submit essays stating a need and how they, or someone they know, would benefit from the services.

The top esssays are published below, and readers are encouraged to choose who would benefit most from the hearing aids by contacting BRENT at or (828) 264-4545.

The winner will be announced in the Dec. 22 issue of The Mountain Times.

Essay A

I would like to submit a person to your Hear for the Holidays contest. The person is my wife. She has a real bad ringing in her ears (tinnitus). At times, the ringing is worse than other times. Dr. Markovich said that (my wife) needed hearing aids. But we can’t afford the $4,000-plus for the hearing aids.

(My wife) has rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and this year she found out she has non-alcohol cirrhosis of the liver. So, she is unable to work at a job. She works very hard at home to keep the house clean, the clothes washed, meals cooked and whatever else needs doing around the house. Sometimes, it is hard for her to walk after getting up in the mornings and after setting for a while. Her joints swell up (her knees and ankles). Her fingers also swell; the knuckles are big and hurt about all the time. So, it makes it hard for her to work with her hands too long at a time. I can’t find any work except odd jobs. So, it is hard to make ends meet sometimes.

(My wife) teaches a Sunday school class at her church, and she sings in the church choir. It is hard at times for her to understand what is being said. People have to repeat what they are trying to tell her sometimes. I know she doesn’t like having to ask people to repeat what they just said. She said it was embarrassing.

I wish I could afford the hearing aids, myself. But there is no way I can, and things don’t look too promising in the future. I know the ringing really bothers her and sometimes it hurts.
So, I am sending this and hoping she will get the hearing aids.

Essay B
Hear for the Holidays Contest hosted by Blue Ridge ENT and the Mountain Times, 2012
Dear Dr. Markovich and Everyone at Blue Ridge ENT and the Mountain Times,
I would like to nominate a dear friend and co-worker who struggles with hearing loss and an awful ringing in her ears. Her hearing deficit is very noticeable, even to her. When I realize how much she is missing in regular everyday life and conversation, it makes me want to do something for her. This year, you are giving me and her that chance to regain a part of her life back.

I watch her struggle to hear because she has to look at you straight in the face. I watch her daily backtrack her steps around the office just so she can recover what people say to her, and she can be certain she understands what she hears.

There is even a peculiar effect of her hearing deficit in that she doesn’t have the correct volume control over her voice. She usually talks too soft or too loud in order to be heard. I know, because I have talked with her about her hearing, and it was then that she revealed that she does, indeed, have tinnitus and hearing loss, both of which make it difficult for her to hear. Yet, she is unaware of how her voice fluctuates in volume.

My friend falls into one of the sad stories of our day. She has insurance, but cannot afford the co-pay to see a specialist. A couple of years ago, before those co-pays were as expensive, she actually went to an audiologist, at which time they asked her to consider hearing aids. She looked at the samples in the doctor’s office. She had to walk away from that visit then, without taking action – she could not afford the hearing aids, and her insurance does not pay for them.

While the gift of hearing is without measure, and the longevity as a “gift that keeps on giving” is incredible, you should know that there is a special need for my dear friend. My friend and co-worker is nursing her husband back to health this season, as he suffered a debilitating car accident just about six weeks ago. He was hospitalized for four weeks with a broken back and has been discharged to receive home health and rehabilitation as we works to recover, which includes building up the strength to walk again.

The weight that this woman now has to carry, daily, is tremendous. I know the emotional stress exasperates her tinnitus and escalates her frustration over how her life is changing. She now has to wake every day formulating the plan of how she will continue on as the sole bread-winner and health care provider for herself, her husband and her two young adult children, one of whom is still at home.

She also, by default due to her husband’s accident, has become the primary on-call person for her father-in-law, who is invalid in a local nursing home. I cannot conceive how this family would manage with her only being able to partially communicate correctly, because she cannot hear.

This holiday season, my friend needs a lot. The gift of hearing for her would ultimately be a long lasting gift of ability, relief and hope. Thank you, Dr. Markovich, Blue Ridge ENT and The Mountain Times for helping renew the great spirit of the holiday season.

Votes may be submitted by mail to Blue Ridge Ear, Nose and Throat, 870 State Farm Road, Suite 101, Boone, N.C. 28607; by email to Dr. Mary Markovich at; or by fax to (828) 264-3279 (attn: Hear for the Holidays).
For more information, call BRENT at (828) 264-4545.

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