When a Hearing Aid Repair Feels Like A Celebrity Sighting

Christmas has come and gone.  We have traveled across the state for six days and now returned home.  During my time to the Twin Cities I made an appt for a hearing aid repair at Starkey Hearing Labs.  I love my Starkey aids but living 3 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 had started to flake off.  Everyone is so nice there, it is a huge place building after building.  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 scrap stuff out is even worse but it feels good when done.  While waiting in this first 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.  My first thought was OH CRAP my phone is dead I can’t get a picture.

Chad and I got moved to another waiting room where they fit the hearing aids and make the ear molds.  Bill Austins office that has the big CEO on his nameplate is right near this waiting room.  Chad and I started discussing that we thought this was great that a CEO would have an office so close to the actual day to day activities of the office.  There was 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 the bottom up in their company and discover how it works and what doesn’t work.  So often these CEO’s have no idea what happens in their business.  We were then shocked.  Here comes Mr Bill Austin in his white lab coat and starts working with a patient that is sitting just 5 feet from us.  He was working the floor, not tucked in a corner.  We were shocked and so pleased.  Just like this picture shows is what he was doing in the office on Friday.


A few moments later he called my name and I went over to him.  I felt a little star shocked.  Looking ahead of me there were pictures of Bill meeting Mother Teresa and the Pope.  I am just amazed.  They ended up changing the case on the right aid so a new battery door.  On the left aid they polished down the ear mold and put some new clear coat on it.  He fitted them and tested them.  He then turned to Chad and talked to both of us of what we should do if there is feedback.  Sometimes there may be some that Chad can hear and I can’t and what he should tell me.  He asked where we were from, general chit chat 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 made a lasting impression in her life.  Meeting Bill could have only made it better.

Staring at pictures like these make 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.

dalai_lama with Bill Austin

Bill Austin with Marlee and Bill


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