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 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 long-time 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 band mates 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 band mates to identify the letter 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 publically 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 fund raisers, 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.


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