SAGINAW, MI — The week before Christmas, an 80-year-old Bay City resident found himself at gunpoint and had his expensive hearing aid stolen. Now he has received replacement help to hear the world around him again.
On the morning of Thursday, January 20, Tim Kelly visited HearingLife, 2135 Brenner St., to pick up his new Oticon More 1 aid, valued at $3,750.
Shortly after 10 p.m. on December 18, Kelly left Duso’s Bar, 604 E. Midland St., and returned to his parked vehicle, only to have a man exit an adjacent SUV and slide into Kelly’s backseat. . The man pointed a handgun at Kelly’s head and demanded money and his hearing aid, getting them before leaving the scene.
Kelly — no relation to Bay County District Judge Timothy J. Kelly — had previously lost her hearing aid, meaning a replacement was no longer covered by her warranty.
“That would have been the full purchase price to be replaced, which he couldn’t afford,” said audiologist Stephen M. Reddick.
However, HearingLife stepped in and donated the high-end replacement to Kelly as a charitable act.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Kelly said. “When it all started, my first thought was, ‘If this guy isn’t going to shoot me, then I’m going to need these (helpers) to hear from my grandkids over Christmas time.’ I told him that, which may have hit a note with him because I told him that a few times – “I need this to hear my grandkids.”
The next morning, Kelly was about to go to church when he found his cochlear implant in a glove inside his vehicle, he said. He speculated that the thief had left the component with him, thinking it was Bluetooth.
“It’s an improvement and something modern,” Kelly said of his new aid.
He admitted he was dubious when he heard HearingLife was offering him a replacement.
” Nothing is free ; there must be a catch somewhere,” he says, “but it’s wonderful. Also, the fact that I won’t have to mess around with batteries anymore is nice. »
Having her full audience is “extremely important,” Kelly said.
“I go to the races; it’s great,” he said. “I couldn’t even answer the phone without it.”
Because Kelly was an existing HearingLife customer, the replacement aid had already been molded and tested for her ear, Reddick said.
“It’s already programmed for his hearing loss,” Reddick said. “Communication and the ability to correctly understand what others are saying, to be able to give the correct answers are crucial for many people in the hearing impaired community.”
The process of getting Kelly the new device began when HearingLife hearing aid specialist Korrey Shoup informed Reddick of the theft. Reddick in turn reached out to HearingLife District Manager Melisa Mendez, who began making phone calls asking how to help Kelly.
HearingLife “really hit it off,” Reddick said.
It was shocking to hear of such a crime, Reddick said.
“On the criminal side, they see it on his ear and…know it’s thousands of dollars,” Reddick said. “If it’s valuable, they’ll steal it like anything else and worry about selling it or selling it later.”
The stolen aid has a serial number, so if it is ever sent for repair it will be reported as stolen, he added.
Bay City Public Safety Capt. Nathan Webster confirmed Thursday that no arrests were made in the holdup. He said the evidence was being analyzed at the Michigan State Police Crime Lab.
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