Affordable Hearing Aids by Zounds

Updated on February 26, 2014

Rich Larcinese, owner, is excited to introduce the world’s most technologically advanced hearing aids to the greater Pittsburgh area. Zounds hearing center is now open and welcomes greater Pittsburgh area residents to their newest location in Ross Township.  Two additional locations are opening in Monroeville and Bethel Park.

Zounds Hearing was founded by a father who, after experiencing his daughter Kate’s issues with traditional hearing aids, made it his mission to develop a superior hearing aid. As an engineer by trade, Sam Thomasson knew he could build a superior aid enhancing Kate’s quality of life – improving her speech, capability to hear in noisy environments and even her ability to hug (with traditional hearing aids this caused excruciating squealing).  Sam’s determination to build the perfect hearing aid produced fifty-eight (58) patents, eliminating background noise, improving sound quality, reducing feedback and much more.

This amazing technology is finally available to all greater Pittsburgh area residents.

Sam Thomasson’s Promise to His Daughter Kate

Sam’s devotion, coupled with his daughter Kate’s needs, changed her life, the course of his career and has also blessed the lives of many people who he has never met.

He describes the day she was born as the happiest of his life. Like other fathers, he would do anything for his daughter, especially if it might impact her quality of life. When Kate was a toddler she lost most of her hearing due to a sudden illness. Extensive testing revealed that Kate’s severe hearing loss was permanent and could not be corrected. Sam made a promise to Kate. As her father, he was willing to pay whatever it took to help her. Sam, an accomplished electrical engineer who had worked on a wide array of products – from computer chips to pace makers – began pouring over design specifications of the leading hearing aids, determined to find the aids that would solve Kate’s hearing problem. As Kate grew, so did her frustrations with her hearing aids. Dinners out with the family were not enjoyable for her, as the loud environment of a restaurant made it impossible to hear conversations. Unable to take part, she felt isolated.

When riding in the car, the irritation of road noise caused her to remove her hearing aids. Undeniably, the worst frustration came from her attempts to hug others. When her parents and grandparents held her close, Kate’s hearing aids squealed, causing her pain. Kate began “hugging” by pressing her forehead against the other person’s chest. This issue in particular was heart-wrenching to those who loved her. There is a joke about hearing aids not working well when you put them in a drawer, instead of your ear. As a toddler, Kate took this one step further, hiding them in vases, under her bed and in the VCR. In what you could call a bold statement, she actually “hid” them in the toilet one day. Issues with her speech and language development were not so funny. Most hearing aids today still only go up to 5000 hertz. The problem is that critical speech sounds are found above that range. Kate endured almost ten years of speech therapy, so she could learn that the “s”, “t” and “ch” sounds existed, how to say them, and which words contain them.

Experiencing Kate’s frustrations motivated Sam to do something extraordinary. Sam set out to completely redesign hearing aids, using Kate’s experiences as his guide. He installed an electronics lab in their home and worked nights and weekends – with Kate often at his side – to develop new technology that would solve issues like feedback and poor sound quality. With his newly developed patents in hand, he founded a company that could continue his work. Sam and his team of dedicated engineers amassed (58) ground-breaking patents with technology that can only be found in Zounds products.

“Even though I paid as much as $7,000 for hearing aids, my daughter struggled to understand speech, vocalize speech, and hear in noisy environments like a restaurant or car.  Her hearing aids would frequently squeal, causing her pain. As an electrical engineer, I was appalled to learn just how crude the technology in her hearing aids was. Many of Kate’s challenges were directly caused by the poor performance of her traditional hearing aids. I knew that if she was to have the kind of life she deserved, I had to do something about it.” –Sam Thomasson

About Zounds Hearing: One of the fastest growing hearing aid companies, Zounds Hearing designs, manufactures and retails high-performance hearing aids for use with mild, moderate, severe and profound hearing impairments. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the company’s technology enables breakthroughs in product, performance, selection and value. Zounds utilizes internally developed research and fifty-eight (58) exclusive patents. For more information, please visit

Bio for Rich Larcinese

Rich is a native Pittsburgher from the Monongahela Valley.  His father was a steelworker and union grievance man who became hearing impaired.  At that time, Rich was unaware of the many potential issues resulting from hearing impairment such as depression and dementia.  The noisy environment of the mill may have contributed to his father’s hearing loss.

Rich is a mechanical engineer, who headed the Low Miner Group for I-R Mining Machinery Division.  This required him to travel underground hundreds of times.  If you have never been underground, you have no idea how challenging, noisy and dangerous it can be.  The miners are very resourceful and great people to work with.  Clearly, your well being depends on those around you.

Rich has held sales positions in several environmental fields ranging from consulting and lab testing to hazardous waste treatment and disposal.  He has also operated an auto body business before the recent opening of Affordable Hearing Aids by Zounds in the North Hills.  Rich was thrilled with the opportunity to have a business, where he could actually improve the lives of our seniors by helping them to become a part of conversations again.

Many seniors wait too long to address their hearing impairment.  Hearing loss affects everyone around them when they continuously have to repeat themselves.  Hearing health can be related to a variety of ailments and conditions. Determining your hearing health is beneficial to your doctor in assessing your overall health.

We invite those with hearing concerns to schedule a visit today to start a dialogue on hearing health. We can address many of the questions and potential myths concerning your hearing.  We offer a free hearing exam with the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

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