When a hearing aid repair feels like a celebrity sighting

Starkey patient Sara

The following is a guest blog post from Sara Spoors Lundquist, a hearing aid wearer and Starkey patient. Sara recently visited Starkey Hearing Technologies headquarters for a hearing aid repair and shared her experience on her blog. Thank you to Sara for letting us re-post her story here for our readers!

Christmas has come and gone. We have traveled across the state for six days and now returned home. During my time in the Twin Cities I made an appointment for a hearing aid repair at Starkey Hearing Technologies. I love my Starkey aids but living three hours away from my audiologist is not ideal. I do have a local one I could bring the hearing aids to but I prefer going to Starkey itself. Chad and I traveled to Eden Prairie, MN the morning after Christmas. I was not sure how long this visit would take. The hinge on the battery door on my right aid had broken and I had a clear coat on my left ear mold for a better seal that had started to flake off. Everyone is so nice there; a very welcoming place to spend part of the day.

The visit started out with a cleaning of my ears. It is gross; there isn’t any other way to put it. Seeing your ear canal magnified 40 times on a big screen is gross. Watching them scrape stuff out is even worse, but it feels good when done! While in the waiting room Chad and I noticed Bill Austin walk into work. Bill is the CEO of Starkey and in my eyes this is a celebrity-worthy sighting. This man knows everyone in film, TV and music. There are pictures of him with celebrities all over the complex. It was like a TMZ moment seeing him walk by and smile and wave to us.

Chad and I were moved to another waiting room where they fit the hearing aids and make the ear molds. Bill Austin’s office that has “CEO” on his nameplate is right near this waiting room. Chad and I started discussing how we thought it was great that a CEO would have an office so close to the actual day-to-day activities of the office. There are no penthouse views or the corner back office where no one sees you. We started talking about “Undercover Boss.” In that particular show the CEO disguises him or herself to go from bottom up in their company and discover how it works and what doesn’t work. Often, these CEOs have no idea what happens in their business. We were then shocked; here comes Mr. Bill Austin in his white lab coat and he started working with a patient that is sitting just five feet from us. He was working the floor, not tucked in a corner.

A few moments later he called my name and I went over to him. I felt a little star struck. Looking ahead of me there were pictures of Bill meeting Mother Teresa and the Pope. They ended up changing the case on the right hearing aid so I would have a new battery door. On the left aid they polished down the ear mold and put some new clear coat on it. Bill fitted and tested them. He then turned to Chad and talked to both of us about what we should do if there is feedback. Sometimes there may be feedback that Chad can hear and I can’t, and what Chad can tell me to help me. He asked where we were from, general chitchat that was just really nice. I kept thinking about my daughter, Greta. She would be so jealous. She got to meet Bill’s wife, Tani, last summer and that made a lasting impression in her life. Meeting Bill could have only made it better.

Staring at pictures like the ones that were on the walls made me realize how lucky I am and was to have this wonderful man that gives so much to the world talk with me on Friday. He is a very generous man and I am so pleased I was able to meet him. He told me to call if I have any problems. I wonder if he answers his own phone also; I bet he does.

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