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(l-r) Sam and Kate Thomasson and Justin Braver
Father's Love Results in Exceptional Hearing Aid
By Lois Thomson



Zounds Hearing manufactures hearing aids using breakthrough technology that provides an exceptional ability to hear. This rapidly growing company has franchises in more than 114 locations around the country, with expectations to double in the next year. The Pittsburgh area currently has two locations – one in the North Hills and one in Monroeville, with a new one scheduled to open in South Hills this summer.

Justin Braver, proprietor of the Zounds Hearing in Monroeville and Norman Center in the South Hills, was a previous small business owner. When he considered other franchises, they didn't measure up to his expectations. "Zounds captivated my attention," Braver said. "I believe in the product, and the need for better hearing aid solutions is huge. I felt that with their technology and pricing, they are poised to help a lot of people, and I wanted to be part of it."



A father's love for his daughter has resulted in a product with the capacity to change thousands of lives. Sam Thomasson, the father, is founder of Zounds Hearing, a company that manufactures hearing aids with technology backed by 57 patents that significantly improve the quality and performance of the devices.

When Justin Braver, proprietor of Zounds Hearing locations in Monroeville and South Hills, met Thomasson personally, the decision to become a Zounds Hearing franchisee was simple, and he knew it was the right fit. "Thomasson is an accomplished engineer who spent his early career developing new technologies in the medical device and consumer electronics industries," Braver said. "And he has a daughter who suffered acute hearing loss following an illness and high fever as a toddler. It was his dedication to finding the best solution for her and for others with hearing loss that impressed me."

Frustrated at not being able to find a hearing device to help her, Thomasson set out to develop his own. With his engineering background, he translated the high-performance semiconductor chips and related software he designed that dramatically improved the quality of cell phones and the like, to hearing aids. The result is a hearing aid that soars above the competition, at a much more reasonable price.

Zounds Hearing aids have several features that help them stand apart from others. As Braver explained, "We offer a variety of hearing aids, fitting ranges from moderate to profound hearing loss, and all of them are manufactured with groundbreaking technology in the areas of noise reduction, feedback cancellation and improved speech intelligibility. The fact is, our customers tell us they can now hear sounds they hadn't heard in years – even with their former hearing aids." Additionally, other hearing aids may not perform above 5000 Hertz, but Zounds covers up to 8000 Hertz, where high frequency sounds and certain consonants ("t," "ch," and "s") necessary for understanding speech are found. Zounds enables the wearer to hear them better.

Zounds also has Intuitive Noise Cancellation™, which helps cancel background noise; Shock Sound Suppression™, which reduces the impact of loud, drastic sounds (e.g., a door slamming) within your environment; and Dynamic Feedback Cancellation, which eliminates most of the squealing noise often associated with hearing aids.

Braver further pointed out that most models are rechargeable. "Changing batteries is a huge nuisance for seniors," he acknowledged. "But with Zounds, you can put your hearing aids in a charger on your nightstand and they will last all day with the overnight charge. That's what separates us from the pack – the pricing, the software and the recharge-ability. What Thomasson has done is truly amazing."

And as if the hearing aids themselves aren't enough, the price is even better. "People have come into my store wearing hearing aids costing $6,000 or more, but aren't happy with their performance. When fitted with Zounds hearing aids, they're amazed at the difference and are thrilled to own hearing aids that work!" Braver said Zounds can cost half that price.

"The reason we're able to come into the market with such an amazing product at such a low price is because the technology is proprietary," said Braver. "We're both a direct manufacturer and the retailer, so we cut out the link in the distribution chain. And Zounds seem to out-perform hearing aids that cost twice as much or more. You're really wearing state-of-the-art hearing technology in your ears."

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