Champion - Sanford Freed

Musician • Entrepreneur

Nominated by: Karen Jacobs of AVA Hearing Center

Sanford's First Steps

Sanford first noticed his hearing loss when he was around 30. His son was first beginning to talk, and Sanford quickly noticed that his wife could understand their son more easily than he could. His wife encouraged him to get his hearing screened, and he was shocked to learn he had a large loss of mid- and high-tones. Since that day over 25 years ago, Sanford has proudly worn his hearing devices.

Professional Success

In 1995, Sanford opened a company that provides home medical alarms for the elderly and disabled. He credits his hearing devices as a major part of his success. "If I could not hear better," said Sanford, "I would not have a professional life. Hearing better allows me to work, but the benefits reach beyond my ability to function."

Personal Success

A longtime bass player, Sanford was eager to pick the instrument back up after learning of his hearing loss and found new ways to communicate with his bandmates to compensate for his loss. "I have difficulty discerning the identity of any letter; C, D, E, and G are hard for me to hear clearly, so I ask my bandmates to identify the letters in ways that we all use—C like Charlie, back to D like David, etc."

Why Sanford is a HearStrong Champion

In addition to living as a positive example for his community, Sanford also takes time to publicly advocate for those with hearing loss. He helped established a local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America in Grand Rapids, MI. As part of that group, he helped to organize fundraisers, present educational programs, design outreach materials and lobby state government leaders. Last year, the group's website received a national award at the annual HLAA convention.

On March 28, 2014, the HearStrong Foundation celebrated Sanford as a HearStrong Champion at the AudiologyNow! Convention in Orlando. Joining Ed Keller, the founder of the HearStrong Foundation, was former NFL player Blaise Winter, who is also a HearStrong Champion, and Dr. Karen Jacobs of AVA Hearing Center who nominated Sanford for the honor.

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