Eight or ten years ago, my son, who had an AOL blog at the time, was talking about his XM subscription radio. This was along about the time that Cliff's hearing really started to go downhill fast, and tinnitus interfered with his hearing even further. I searched the Internet for cures for the ringing in his ears but found there were no remedies. I saw it suggested that it might help a sufferer's state of mind to have background noise going, to overcome the noises in his head. My son found a reasonably priced XM radio on Ebay and I surprised Cliff with it.
At first Cliff thought I had done a very foolish thing (what's so special about a radio?), spending all that money on a radio that you have to pay a monthly, or yearly, fee to listen to. But then he discovered Willie's Roadhouse, a station that played all the old 60's, 70's, and 80's country music he loved, and from then on, he agreed that radio was the best decision I ever made, ranked right up there with my insisting that he build his shop.
I got notice today that our two-year subscription would automatically renew in January, and our credit card would be charged well over $300. I'm pretty sure the price wasn't that high two years ago. I went to the Sirus website (Sirius bought out XM a long time ago) and I saw their claim that costs have risen due to royalty costs. I went to the shop and told Cliff it was over $150 a year, and he said, "Don't pay it. That's too much."
Then I remembered why we got the radio in the first place, and realized if you broke it down to the monthly cost, it worked out to $13 or $14 a month. I asked him, "Is it worth $14 a month to you?"
Yes, he answered. So I came back inside and studied the website again. There are three different plans that include music stations, and we had the middle package. Cliff never listens to anything but Willie's Roadhouse, so I checked to see if the cheaper package included that station: Indeed it did! That got it down to $10 monthly.
Cliff is much more hard of hearing than he was when we first got the radio, but he says the reason he so enjoys that station so much these days is that over the years of listening to it, he knows every word of every song they play. So he doesn't have to hear each word or sound clearly to know what they are singing, and his mind just fills in the blanks.
I went back outside and informed him that I had renewed our subscription. "As long as you can still hear at all," I told him, "we are going to keep that radio going."
Perhaps you are thinking he could listen to Pandora, but remember, this is his shop. There is no Internet in the shop. Besides, some people are worth spending a little extra money on.