A Spartanburg man gets the gift of sound thanks to the Beltone foundation

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Losing your hearing can not only make life difficult it can lead to depression but not everyone can afford hearing aids that often cost thousands of dollars.

So a foundation is stepping in to help the people most in need. And no one fits that bill more than a Spartanburg man who has lost a lot but says he has even more for which to be grateful.

Seven years ago, Donald Middleton had a stroke that left him with severe hearing loss.

“I couldn’t hear the cars coming when I get ready to cross the street. I couldn’t hear people talk to me,” said Middleton.

Back then, the Lions Club had donated hearing aids that served him well until they broke two months ago.

“I can’t hear the TV when it’s on. I can’t hear my preacher when they preach,” he said.

“I tried everything. I cleaned them, I checked terminals, I took them apart and even cleaned them. There was nothing we could do to even get them to come back on,” said James Porter, Middleton’s hearing care specialist.

Porter penned a hand-written letter to the Beltone Foundation that explained “hearing is his lifeline and he deserves to hear with the best.”

He used the word “lifeline,” because that stroke in 2010 also took his vision.

“God took my eyesight and part of my hearing but I still got my life. He didn’t take my life and I’m grateful for that,” said Middleton.

Thursday, as he got fitted for a new set of top of the line $9,000 hearing aids, Middleton is thinking of the sound he’s most anxious to hear again.

“I’m just so excited, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get to church Sunday,” said Middleton.

And Middleton’s not alone. In the last two years Porter has helped 15 people get hearing aids who can’t afford them in the Spartanburg area, and the Beltone Foundation pays for about 400 nationwide each year.

This design is so advanced, it syncs to his cell phone.

“I can hear clearly now, and I’m just grateful. I’m blessed.”

He may not be able to see his 4 year old granddaughter, but for years to come this 56-year-old ‘Paw Paw’ will be able to hear her loud and clear.

Throughout its 77-year history, Beltone has helped enrich the quality of life for countless hearing impaired individuals in the United States and around the world.

For more information on the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation, please visit www.beltone.com.

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