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Reagan’s New Hearing Aid - The ‘Jellybean’

February 17, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ The company that made President Reagan’s new hearing aid is thinking of nicknaming it the Jellybean in honor of the sweet tooth of its most famous customer.

″We used to say it was the size of a cashew nut, but he (Reagan) reminded me it’s also the size of a jellybean,″ Thomas A. Powers, an executive of Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc. said Wednesday.

″We may start to call it the Jellybean,″ said Powers, the director of professional relations for Siemens. ″After all, he’s the president.″

Reagan last week began wearing a $1,900 Siemens hearing aid equipped with a remote-control device for screening out unwanted noise. The publicity helped spur sales of hearing aids to the general public.

″President Reagan deserves recognition for being willing to publicly acknowledge that he wears a hearing aid,″ said Helmut Ermann, president of the Piscataway, N.J.-based subsidiary of West Germany’s Siemens AG.

Ermann said Reagan ″is sending a very powerful message to many millions of people all over the world, really, whose quality of life is adversely affected by hearing loss.″

Reagan’s new hearing aid, for which he was fitted in December, can be switched to pick up telephone signals, preventing the whistling sound of feedback that comes from holding the receiver against the ear.

Reagan dates his hearing loss to the noise of a gun going off by his ear during his acting days in Hollywood. He wears a hearing aid in each ear.

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