Reality television meets family history in BYUtv’s competitive, family-finding program, Relative Race. The unscripted series, which recently aired its third season, follows four teams in search of relatives they have never met, but with whom they share DNA.
Sam Thomasson, of Gilbert’s Higley Groves Ward, Highland West Stake, is an engineer and entrepreneur who has spent his career developing new technologies in the medical device and consumer electronics industries.
Sam created high-performance semiconductor chips and related software with low power usage algorithms that dramatically improve the voice and sound quality in cell phones, video phones, desktop phones, conference call phones and automotive communication systems.
Sam is also the father of a hearing-impaired daughter and has witnessed the problems associated with today’s traditional hearing aids.
“It started when Kate ran a high fever around the age of 12 months old,” says Kate’s mother, LaWana Thomasson. After noticing changes in her language and demeanor, they discovered she had lost most of her hearing due to the illness. Extensive testing revealed that Kate’s severe hearing loss was permanent and could not be corrected.
Like other fathers, Sam would do anything for his daughter, especially if it might impact her quality of life. This devotion, coupled with Kate’s special need, changed her life and also the course of his career, while at the same time changing and blessing the lives of many people whom he has never met.
As a toddler, Kate would take to hiding her hearing aids: in vases, under her bed and in the VCR.
“She actually ‘hid’ them in the toilet one day,” says LaWana, “and I grabbed them just before they disappeared.”
Sam saw how it affected his daughter’s speech, her capacity to hear in noisy environments, and even her ability to hug. When her parents would hug her close, Kate’s hearing aids began to squeal, causing her pain, and Kate began “hugging” by pressing her forehead against the other person’s chest.
Sam promised his daughter that he would develop a hearing aid to address the key problems common with other hearing aids. Zounds’ breakthrough technology is the fulfillment of a father’s promise to his daughter and the solution for dissatisfied hearing aid users around the world.
“This speaker goes down the ear canal,” says Sam. “There are no tubes like traditional hearing aids have.”
“This started out as a goal to help my own daughter,” says Sam. “With that achieved, my focus has partnered with the Lions Club to provide hearing aids to those who are indigent.”
The Lions Club recently awarded him the Helen Keller Knight of the Blind Award for his outstanding support of their Sight and Hearing Foundation. He has also been the recipient of the U.S. Congressional Healthcare Heroes Award for innovation and was named Innovator of the Year by Phoenix Business Journal.
Discover more information about Zounds by visiting zoundshearing.com or by calling (480)-939-7062.