Interview with Arnold Palmer Golfer, Sportsman, Hearing Aid Wearer

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Interview with Arnold Palmer

Arnold PalmerAO/Beck: Hi, Mr. Palmer. It’s indeed an honor to meet you.

Palmer: Hi, Dr. Beck. A pleasure to meet you, too.

AO/Beck: I usually start interviews with brief bio notes, so the audience will know exactly with whom I’m speaking. But in your case – I can’t imagine anyone not knowing your name or your accomplishments in golf. You are one of the few true Living Legends in America.

Palmer: Thanks, that’s kind of you.

AO/Beck: You’re welcome. In fact, I have a list of some of your golf and non-golf related accomplishments and if you don’t mind I’d like to recite some of them, because there’s a lot more to know about you than golf!

Palmer: Well, I’m not sure what you’ve got there, but OK, let’s hear it!

AO/Beck: All right, well, starting with golf related issues, the Associated Press named you Athlete of the Decade in the 1960s. You have won 92 professional golf championships in your career. You won the Masters Tournament four times, 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964, the U.S. Open in 1960 and the British Open in 1961 and 1962. You have a number of honorary academic awards, such as an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC; an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Thiel College, Greenville, PA; an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the National College of Education, Evanston, IL, and Honorary Doctors of Humane Letters from Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, and Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL and then one of the most wonderful things I’m aware of, is the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women. You are really an amazing individual!

Palmer: Thanks, Dr. Beck.

AO/Beck: OK, well please tell me how you got involved with the Starkey Hearing Foundation?

Palmer: I got involved through my association with Bill Austin, the founder of Starkey Hearing Aids. He has made an amazing difference in my ability to hear and enjoy my life. Before I met Bill and got my hearing aids, I was having extreme difficulty, and basically, since wearing my hearing aids, my life is much more enjoyable and Bill has made me much more comfortable.

AO/Beck: Mr. Palmer, how long have you been wearing hearing aids?

Palmer: It’s probably been some 30 years or more. I’ve been wearing hearing aids for a long time. The technology available now is simply unbelievable. When I compare the new digital products to what we had 30 years ago, it’s an amazing difference. The products have improved dramatically, and fortunately they’ll just continue to get better. In fact, every time I travel back to Minneapolis to visit Bill at Starkey, I find some new thing that makes it easier – the technology is wonderful.

AO/Beck: Mr. Palmer, do you wear one or two hearing aids?

Palmer: I wear two, and I do wear them constantly. In fact, I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I have even slept in them.

AO/Beck: Can you identify a primary issue or circumstance in your day-to-day life, where the hearing aids make all the difference in the world?

Palmer: Well, there was a time when I couldn’t hear what most people said to me, most of the time. But with the hearing aids, I understand just about everything. So probably if I had to identify one primary issue – it would be conversational speech, and I have to tell you the quality of the sound is so nice now – it really is very impressive.

AO/Beck: This may be too hard to answer….but I’ll ask ….Can you tell a difference in your own voice, or your own speech patterns when you wear hearing aids, as compared to when you don’t wear them?

Palmer: Yes, very definitely. I think that when I hear myself better, when I can better monitor how my voice sounds, I can do a better job speaking. And VERY importantly, better hearing has made a difference in my golf game!

AO/Beck: Please explain that for me?

Palmer: Well, it’s a funny thing, I’ve noticed the sound of the golf ball being hit by the golf club is different, and much more realistic, with the hearing aids. The sound with the hearing aids makes sense, and better represents what I know is happening to the golf ball. So you could say that the hearing aids help give me confidence regarding my golf game.

AO/Beck: How do you get along in cocktail parties and noisy situations while wearing hearing aids?

Palmer: With the new technology in hearing aids, those difficult situations and
obstacles have pretty much been overcome. Of course I am always looking for the best and the ultimate, but frankly, Dr. Beck, in a crowded room, I am very comfortable with my hearing aids, and I hear very well.

AO/Beck: That’s wonderful. I am really happy to hear that. OK, one more issue before I let you go….what do you think is happening to Tiger Woods?

Palmer: You caught me off guard with that! I think he is a phenomenal golfer, and he is always a threat anywhere that he plays! And I feel sorry for him because he has only won four times this year!

AO/Beck: Thanks so much for your time, Mr. Palmer. It’s really been a pleasure meeting you.

Palmer: Thank you, too, Dr. Beck. It’s been fun meeting you.