Hearing Aids

Why Does the Apple Watch Matter for Your Hearing Aids?

The new Apple Watch™ is pretty cool. With it, you can send and receive messages, make speakerphone calls, track your fitness and heart rate, listen to music wirelessly with Bluetooth® devices, pay for things, and run apps like a mini iPhone®. Oh, and it tells the time, too.

So what does the Apple Watch have to do with your AGX hearing aids?

Funny you should ask.

As of May 1, 2015, the hearing aid app that pairs with our AGXSP made-for-iPhone hearing aids, called TruLink™ (the software that controls your hearing aids), will also be available for the Apple Watch. I have been wearing the AGXSP hearing aid series since their inception, and I recently told my wife that I would probably have to replace my own failing watch with the Apple Watch — because of the TruLink app, of course.

Hearing Aids

The Gift of Better Hearing:

How Starkey Hearing Foundation
is Changing Lives on a Worldwide Scale

While every year of our lives is special — priceless, really — I feel that 2015 marks some extra special milestones in the field of hearing health care; locally, nationally, and globally.  These are:

● In October, North State Audiological Services will celebrate its 20th anniversary! I founded this practice with the goal of bringing the very best hearing care available in the U.S. to Chico and the surrounding communities. Today that dream has become reality, as my AudigyCertified™ team and I have changed thousands of lives for the better through better hearing…one day at a time.

●  May 1 is the start of the 88th Annual National Better Hearing Month public awareness campaign.  This nationwide public awareness campaign is intended to help the millions of Americans, and their families, who suffer from hearing difficulties.

●  This year is the beginning of the fourth decade of existence for Starkey Hearing Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by William F. “Bill” Austin, founder and CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Started by Austin in 1967 with a small investment, Starkey Hearing Technologies is now the largest hearing aid manufacturer in the U.S. and the sixth largest in the world. It has 21 facilities in over 18 countries, and it employs more than 4,000 people worldwide.

So the world may hear

As successful as Austin has been in business, he is also tremendously successful in his philanthropic efforts to provide — free of charge — hearing aids and follow-up care to people in all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries who could not afford to pay for the products or services themselves.

“Mr. Austin built the Starkey Hearing Foundation on his vision — ‘So the World May Hear’,” said Taylor Joseph, director of marketing and communications for Starkey Hearing Foundation. “With the help of thousands of volunteers and sponsors, Starkey Hearing Foundation has become the embodiment of Mr. Austin’s incredible vision and has provided more than 1.6 million hearing aids to people in need.”

You read that correctly: more than 1.6 million hearing aids!

From presidents to people just like you

Mr. Austin is fond of saying, “Alone we can’t do much. Together we can change the world,” and the fantastic achievements of his Foundation have been accomplished through an amazing array of partnerships, donations, and volunteer support.

Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are active ambassadors of Starkey Hearing Foundation, as are other celebrities such as actor and director Forest Whitaker, musician Sir Elton John, pro football player Ray Lewis, boxer Manny Pacquiao, and skateboard legend Tony Hawk.

Starkey Hearing Foundation’s goal of reaching those in need throughout the world is enhanced by its membership in the Clinton Global Initiative, to which Starkey Hearing Foundation has pledged to provide another million-plus hearing aids by 2020 — a goal they are 50% ahead of schedule to date!

Providing that kind of assistance takes people power, and that’s where Starkey Hearing Foundation’s hearing missions to countries around the world make it possible. For example, during a recent mission to Guadalajara and Cuautitlan, Mexico, more than 2,000 people of all ages were fit with hearing aids. These people, mostly local villagers with little economic resources, came from miles away to have their hearing difficulties addressed. To further assist these patients, Starkey Hearing Foundation’s AfterCare program provides ongoing follow-up care to the hearing aid recipients.

Donations: a cornerstone of success

Where do all these hearing aids come from?  Many come from donations which are then recycled by the Foundation.

Donors — often someone who wears hearing aids and has upgraded to newer technology, or the family of a hearing aid wearer who has passed away — can simply mail hearing aids to Starkey Hearing Foundation, or, as is the case in my office and many others across the country, bring them in to be shipped to the Foundation.  All hearing aids are accepted, regardless of age, make, model, or condition.

Here’s how you can donate:

Mail the hearing aid(s) directly to: Starkey Hearing Foundation, Attention Hearing Aid Recycling, 6700 Washington Avenue South, Eden Prairie, MN, 55344. All donors receive a letter of recognition from Starkey Hearing Foundation (a 501(c)(3) corporation) for their charitable contribution, which is tax deductible.

And if you don’t have any hearing aids to donate, Starkey Hearing Foundation does accept cash contributions as well. For more information on how to make a cash donation, visit their website at

If you or someone you know have hearing aids that are no longer being used, please donate them to this wonderful organization. Doing so would add to Mr. Austin’s vision and change for the better the life of someone in need…because hearing is a wonderful gift!

Helping the World to Hear — By the Numbers*

                     1   Goal: So the World May Hear
50   U.S. States provided the gift of hearing
100+  Countries given the gift of hearing
1,000s   Of volunteers, partners, and supporters
100,000+   Hearing aids fit annually
175,000+   Hearing aids fit in the last year
560,000+   Hearing aids recycled to date
1,000,000   Hearing aids given through 2010 and
the number that will be given this decade
Countless Lives changed forever through the gift of hearing

* provided courtesy of Starkey Hearing Foundation
Hearing Loss

Frequently Asked Question

Q: “I’ve noticed that I’m not hearing things that I used to. I feel like recently things have been quieter, and I’m just missing things that I usually don’t. Why the sudden change?”

A: This is actually a question we hear often.

Many of our patients will report that their hearing has decreased just in the last few months to a year. However, if you ask their family or friends, they will tell you that the hearing problem has been going on for significantly longer.

So, why would there be such a difference of opinion? In most cases, people lose their hearing only in specific frequencies or pitches. AudigyCertified™ providers refer to this phenomenon as a Sound Void™. To better explain this, think of your hearing like a piano. Our ears are able to hear high notes, low notes, and everything in between. In the case of a Sound Void, hearing only decreases in a part of that range. Most times this results in a momentary lack of clarity, creating difficulty hearing only specific people or difficulty hearing in noise.

From the patient’s viewpoint, it may not sound like their problem at all. In fact, the patient may feel as though it is the fault of the speaker, even going so far as to accuse them of mumbling, not speaking clearly, or telling them to enunciate what they’re saying. Since Sound Voids develop gradually, patients may not realize that the problem is their hearing until so many voices are affected that it no longer can be overlooked. Even so, since the patient has only been aware of their issue for a short period of time, to them the problem has only existed since they noticed it.

On the other hand, if a patient experiences true sudden loss, like waking up in the morning with little or no hearing in one or both ears, it is extremely important to act quickly. This type of situation can be very serious, so what I tell patients (and anyone else who will listen) is that if this ever happens, your local audiologist is not the place to go. In a case like this, the patient needs to get to a physician — particularly one that specializes in ears — as soon as possible. Many of these cases will also involve dizziness and/or loud ringing in the ears. Remember, your medical doctor or the emergency room is the place to go in cases of sudden hearing loss.

For the most part, Sound Voids develop slowly over time and may be tough to recognize, especially for the patient. Because they process very slowly, it may be difficult to realize that sounds are being missed. The good news is that they are very treatable. If you begin to notice that you or a person you love seems to be having trouble hearing, be sure to have your hearing checked. You’ll be happy you did.