William F. Austin
in the Starkey test
station where he
WILLIAM F. AUSTIN
FO A O, TA A I LO I
Every year since 2001, William F. Austin has lured numerous
entertainers, politicians and sports to St. Paul, Minnesota, to
raise funds for and awareness of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which
annually furnishes more than 175,000 hearing aids to those in need
around the world. As CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies, Austin
leads the only privately held hearing aid maker in the United States.
This gala, held in July, drew luminaries that included former
Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; singer Katy Perry provided
entertainment. just one of the highlights of a very busy year for
Austin, who wends his way around the world hearing aids. During
October, Austin is traveling to Mexico and Peru.
sky: How has the hearing aid industry changed during your career?
austin: Since I began working on
this 54 years ago, moved from
body-worn instruments and eyeglass
hearing aids, which were quite big
and thick, to instruments now that
are really hard to see. very
discreet or virtually so.
The stigma associated with hearing impairment has melted away as
more and more people have found
it acceptable. And [hearing aids]
are becoming devices that people
actually want! With our Bluetooth
devices, we can stream music and
PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS STRAND