Starkey Hearing Innovation Expo draws 3000 from around the world

By K. Ray Katz

LAS VEGAS–Starkey Laboratories, America’s largest hearing aid manufacturer, held its first-ever Hearing Innovation Expo January 4-7 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. Approximately 3000 Starkey customers from 27 countries gathered in Las Vegas for this unprecedented event. They were offered over 7 hours of informational sessions a day on a wide range of subjects of importance to hearing healthcare providers.

Among the distinguished guest speakers were Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Industries, and former President Bill Clinton.

Attendees also heard talks by Jay Elliot, founder of Nuvel, Inc., a leading software company; Mary Furlong, EdD, an expert on Baby Boomers; Tonya Reiman, a Fox News Channel contributor; and Jake Gibbs, Founder of Legacy Frontiers, who spoke on how to hire the right people.

In his inspirational address, Branson spoke of the need to be passionate about providing help to those with hearing loss. He also showed a video about one of his 200 Virgin companies that will be taking paying customers by spacecraft to the edge of space.

Jerry Ruzicka, president of Starkey, made a well-received presentation on the “21 Laws of Leadership and Employee Selection,” while Starkey senior VP Brandon L. Sawalich hosted a program entitled “Trends Powering the Age Boom and Marketing Strategies in the Digital Age.”

The afternoons were devoted to 40 break-out sessions based around the subjects of managing your business, providing a quality patient experience, taking full advantage of advances in technology, managing your employees and yourself more efficiently, giving back to your community and the world, and innovations in hearing technology.



One of the most significant technical innovations demonstrated at the meeting was Lantos Technologies’ new digital laser technology for scanning the ear. The Lantos system creates a three-dimensional digital image of an ear canal in less than a minute without using impression material. The image can then be transmitted directly to the earmold lab for fabrication. (For more on this technology, see my January 8 post at Have You Heard?)

Expo attendees were able to explore a number of exhibits, including Starkey’s Office of the Future, plus individual areas devoted to Internet Marketing, Risk Management, Practice Management, Office Management Software, Business Consulting Services, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Pediatric Services.

This unique meeting concluded on a festive note last Saturday night at the Acceleration Party, featuring music by Chuck Wicks and Rascal Flatts.

K. Ray Katz, a former hearing instrument specialist, is editor of Have You Heard?, one of the Blogs@HHTM. For more on Starkey’s Hearing Innovation Expo, go to his blog.