By Amanda Henrikson
Sam Thomasson, of the Higley Groves Ward, Highland West Stake, has witnessed firsthand the many problems with today’s hearing aids. His daughter, Kate, is profoundly hearing impaired. Having witnessed her frustrations with traditional hearing aids, Sam, an accomplished engineer, promised her that he would fix these problems. Fifty-seven patents later, that promise became Zounds Hearing.
Zounds, established 2005 in Phoenix, is working in the interest of the hearing impaired. Cutting costs and creating a superior product are very important to Sam, “even though I paid $7,000 for Kate’s aids, she still struggled to understand speech and hear in noisy environments. Many of Kate’s challenges were directly caused by her traditional aids; I knew I had to do something about it.”
To cover the spectrum of problems, Sam based his designs on a study identifying the top 10 complaints of hearing aid wearers. Sam highlights three he is most proud of:
Noise reduction. “The $7000 aids that claimed to have noise reduction simply reduced the overall volume.” Yet, Kate’s inability to hear in noisy environments–like school, restaurants and family gatherings–was a major frustration for her.
As an engineer, this was unacceptable to Sam, so he developed two technologies that could differentiate between human sounds and other sounds like wind or road noise and create a cone of listening in noisy conditions. The combination of the technologies gets rid of 90 percent of unwanted background noise, while enhancing voice.
Battery life. “Over the years my wife has made many runs to school or an event with new batteries for Kate.” To answer this issue, he created rechargeable batteries that hold a charge for 18 hours, recharging at night in the charging station.
Cost. “I have seen too many folks wearing inferior hearing aids–or none at all–due to the exorbitant cost of these vital devices. With Zounds, you get our superior product through company-owned stores and franchises, at factory-direct prices. No middlemen means no mark-up.”
Kate’s life changed the moment she put on Zounds aids. She could hear sounds she had been struggling to imitate, the “t,” “s” and “ch” sounds that were outside the range of traditional aids.
Kate is now a college student, studying electrical engineering. With dreams of following in her father’s footsteps, Kate interns at Zounds, helping develop new technologies she will benefit from herself.
Being able to impact his daughter’s future has been a great blessing to Sam and the Thomasson family and has benefited thousands of others. “I am thankful for the thousands who become customers and now friends,” Sam says. “This started out as something I needed to do for Kate, but became bigger than both of us. It is incredibly rewarding to have helped so many.”
To find out more about Zounds, visit www.ZoundsHearing.com