As an RCA Engineering alumnus, I’ve always had a soft spot for their NBC Division; and this sentimentality still exists to this day, even though Comcast now is the owner. Imagine my delight when my friend & crack Audiologist Dr A U Bankaitis posted this clip of a seven-plus minute segment on this mornings’ NBC Today show featuring an interview by Matt Lauer of hearing loss sufferer Jim McDade & his Audiologist Dr Shelley Borgia (e-mail) of Park Avenue Acoustics; and also of Lauer getting his hearing tested by her; and finally a “dog and pony” show of the various hearing instruments on the market:
…And much to NBC’s credit, the video is fully captioned: Thank you.
But, as I listened to it, something struck me a bit odd: Listen carefully to McDade speak in this clip:
Does something sound a little out-of-whack to you, too? Here is what was said:
Matt Lauer: 39-year-old Jim McDade is a true child of the 80′s growing up with headphones.
Jim McDade: I would wake up in the morning and my ears would be throbbing.
but compare it to his speech formation. Something smells a bit ripe to you too now, doesn’t it?
Perhaps the answer is in this next clip, starting at 6:20. Turn on the captions so you can follow the exact dialog:
From the transcript:
Matt Lauer: These are a little larger over here?
Shelley Borgia: These are the older traditional hearing devices.
ML: That made him cringe.
ML: Those are the ones that worried you?
Jim McDade: I had to grow up in grade school with something like that [Emphasis added].
Whoa! Looks like we caught Jim McDade and Dr Shelley Borgia being a bit less-than-truthful about the cause of his (McDades’) deafness: Although the “Advocacy Journalism” message of the NBC Today segment is that loud headphone usage can lead to hearing loss — And it certainly can; and may in fact have exacerbated his deafness – there is more to the story, with his childhood hearing loss significant enough to both require his need for hearing aids .AND. affect his speech production.
What makes this segment less-than honest is that, except for the slight speech impediment and McDades’ offhand admission of wearing hearing aids in grade school, we would have never known the cause of his problems is not as advertised. I’ll give Matt Lauer a pass on this, as he is neither an expert; and also maybe his “crap detector” had been been turned down a bit because he’s dealing with the identification of his own mild hearing loss.
On the other hand, I fault both Borgia and McDade for their less-than fully truthful, agenda-driven statements, as when pertinent facts to a story are withheld, the issue of iPod-induced hearing damage loses credibility; and for this they should both be reprimanded.
As a side note, there may indeed be a real issue of McDade not wanting to show he wears hearing aids: Perhaps he was teased & bullied when he wore them in grade school, as kids can be merciless, especially on the playground. Fortunately, in the last several years, I’ve been receiving anecdotal reports that this has subsided; and in fact we are seeing more and more kids strutting their ear hardware, as you can see from this photo gallery I’ve assembled.