The Sound of Success: Starkey CEO Brandon Sawalich Talks Hearing Loss

Starkey CEO and President Brandon Sawalich

Brandon Sawalich is a name synonymous with innovation and leadership in the hearing industry. As the President and CEO of Starkey, Sawalich has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s trajectory and contributing to advancements in hearing aid technology. One of the notable hearing aid products under his leadership is the Genesis AI, a revolutionary line that has redefined the way we perceive and experience hearing solutions.
Sawalich’s journey in the hearing industry is rooted in a deep personal connection to the cause.

Growing up with parents who maintained their own hearing practice and continue to work in the industry, Sawalich developed a profound understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with hearing loss. “Because of my family, I grew up surrounded by hearing healthcare my whole life. My grandmother opened a hearing practice in the 1950s, a time when it was almost unheard of for a woman to own her own business. She saw a way she could help people with hearing loss, and she was determined to make an impact. My grandma inspired many leaders in the hearing industry, including my parents and myself,” says Sawalich of his early introduction to the industry.

This early exposure laid the foundation for his commitment to making a meaningful impact in the field. Sawalich joined Starkey in 1994 and steadily climbed the ranks, showcasing a unique blend of business acumen and a passion for improving lives through better hearing.

In 2020, Sawalich was appointed President and CEO of Starkey, marking a significant chapter in his career. With this new responsibility, Sawalich aimed to continue Starkey’s legacy of innovation and commitment to providing cutting-edge hearing solutions. Under his leadership, Starkey embarked on a mission to redefine the possibilities of hearing aids. Sawalich recognized the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in transforming the way individuals experience hearing assistance. This vision laid the groundwork for the development of the Genesis AI hearing aids.

Genesis AI hearing aids represent a leap forward in the integration of AI and hearing assistance. These devices leverage the power of artificial intelligence to deliver a personalized and immersive listening experience. Genesis AI incorporates advanced adaptive sound processing algorithms that continuously analyze the user’s listening environment. One of the defining features of Genesis AI is its ability to learn and adapt to the user’s preferences and habits. The AI algorithms analyze the user’s listening behavior and make automatic adjustments to suit individual preferences

This learning capability results in a truly personalized and user-centric hearing experience. Genesis AI hearing aids are equipped with seamless connectivity features, allowing users to connect wirelessly to smartphones and other smart devices. The integration of smart controls enables users to adjust settings, stream audio and even receive software updates directly through their mobile devices.

This connectivity enhances the overall user experience and promotes accessibility. In a groundbreaking move, Genesis AI goes beyond traditional hearing aid functionalities by incorporating health monitoring features. The devices can track physical activity and provide valuable insights into overall well-being. This holistic approach aligns with the growing trend of incorporating health monitoring into wearable technologies.

The introduction of Genesis AI has had a profound impact on individuals with hearing loss. The personalized nature of the technology addresses the diverse needs of users, ensuring that they not only hear better but also feel more empowered and in control of their hearing experiences. On the integrated nature of Genisis AI, Sawalich claims, “Using artificial intelligence and integrated sensors, our hearing aid isn’t a single-purpose device anymore. It is a multifunctional device that is helping people live better lives.”

As is typical of the humble CEO, he shares the credit for Genisis AI with all of the Starkey employees. “Over the past five years, every single one of our over 5,000 employees at Starkey has worked to make Genesis AI a reality. Because we stayed committed to our purpose and our team was not afraid to push the boundaries of technology, we have been able to make this impact. Artificial intelligence has eliminated every barrier; the future of what this technology can do is limitless.”

Beyond technological innovation, Sawalich has been a vocal advocate for improving accessibility to hearing healthcare. He has been actively involved in initiatives aimed at raising awareness about hearing loss, reducing the stigma associated with hearing aids and promoting the importance of early intervention. Starkey and Sawalich’s commitment to accessibility extends beyond product development. He has championed outreach programs and partnerships to ensure that hearing solutions reach underserved communities globally. This dedication reflects his belief that everyone deserves access to the benefits of cutting-edge hearing technology.

Sawalich’s commitment to his customers is evident, “As a teenager, I didn’t know the full impact of better hearing. Now, I have a front row seat to what I call ‘hearing smiles’—the look in someone’s eyes and the smile that slowly spreads across their face when they are reconnected with the world around them through better hearing. I have seen countless hearing smiles over the years, and it never gets old.”

Sawalich’s journey from a family rooted in hearing care to the helm of a leading hearing technology company showcases a remarkable blend of personal passion and professional excellence. Through his leadership, Starkey remains at the forefront of the industry, with Genesis AI standing as a symbol of progress and empowerment for individuals with hearing loss. As technology continues to evolve, Sawalich’s influence promises to leave an enduring legacy in the pursuit of better hearing for all. As for the future of Starkey, Sawalich says it in his own words “My vision for Starkey is to be the best. The patient is telling us what they need, and we are listening.”