Landon Woodruff is a big believer in the importance of hearing for people’s quality of life.
And he knows from experience – he has had hearing loss since he was a baby.
Woodruff is the owner of Dunlop Hearing, which has locations in Estevan and Weyburn. The Estevan location is at 1175 Nicholson Road, across from St. Joseph’s Hospital.
His parents found out about his hearing loss when he was a baby, when they were building a home, and he didn’t wake up during the construction.
“I very quickly got tested, and found out that I had some hearing loss, and ended up going through the process of getting put into a habilitation hospital when I was very young,” said Woodruff, who is a certified hearing practitioner.
When he was 2 1/2 years old, he went to a school to learn sign language and how to speak properly. He has had hearing aids his entire life.
Woodruff purchased Dunlop Hearing in 2015.
“I ended up getting in touch with the people that were running this business back in 2012, and they met me at a conference, a hearing aid launch conference. I was partnered up with them, and they were impressed with how quickly I was dealing with the software and learning the hearing aids,” he said.
They offered him the business, but the timing wasn’t right. A few months later, they approached him, and he agreed to purchase it. Woodruff moved from Edmonton to Estevan to take over the company.
“I have a lot of passion for what I do because of my personal history with hearing loss and a hearing handicap, essentially, and I just like to try to get people to the same kind of level of satisfaction with their hearing aids that I’ve been able to experience and enjoy.”
Moving to Estevan has been a terrific experience. He gets along well with patients, and he likes to be involved in the community or to take in events happening in Estevan.
Woodruff believes it’s beneficial to be coming from a position of experience.
“Anything that I have found that I’m going through in my life, whether it be trials or struggles or anything like that, if I can talk to somebody who knows and who’s been there and who’s dealt with that, it makes a huge difference for me personally,” he said.
“When I’m dealing with those people and they find out they have that hearing loss, it’s almost like that extra layer of trust and security where they think ‘Okay, he gets what I’m going through. He understands what I’m dealing with.’”
Dunlop Hearing is a full-service hearing clinic offering a wide variety of services to fit hearing needs. Whether a client needs a hearing test, has a doctor's referral or is looking to be fitted with customized hearing solutions, they meet people’s needs.
Most of the clients that he deals with are those who have hearing loss from noise exposure and work history, or due to aging. He believes those 65 and up account for 75-80 per cent of the clientele.
“I do have some younger folks who are probably about the same age as me, plus or minus 10 years, that I deal with, but for the most part, it’s 65 and up,” said Woodruff.
As for work-induced hearing loss, there are people in the area who work at the mines, in construction and with various trades, and they’re the ones that Woodruff wants to see look after their hearing. They can provide custom and electronic hearing protection as opposed to conventional ear plugs.
May is Speech and Hearing Month. Dunlop Hearing has done things in the past during the month, mostly related to advertising. He believes it’s important to let people know that if they have hearing loss, they should get it checked out and treated sooner rather than later.
“It’s going to be a lot easier for your brain to adjust to hearing aids the younger you are,” said Woodruff.
Clients are typically very appreciative of the efforts of Woodruff and the staff. If there are issues, he tries to alleviate those concerns. He won’t sell a hearing aid or another product he doesn’t believe in, and the ones he sells are those he wears or has personal or professional experience with.
“I’ve had a lot of people come back and say ‘I was a little hesitant about the hearing aids, but you put these ones on me, and holy cow, what a difference it’s made in my life, what a difference it’s made in how I’m hearing things,’” said Woodruff.
The technology for hearing aids has come a long ways since he purchased the company. Five years ago, hearing aids were just breaking into the Bluetooth market, with aids connecting to phones.
“Previous to that, there were all these accessories that you’d have to get in order to MacGyver things to make them work, but now it’s so seamless the things that you can do,” said Woodruff.
There’s one hearing aid in which if you double tap it, it will open Siri, Alexa or a similar program. The user can talk to the app to call or text somebody, or play music.
Other hearing aids have accelerometers in them so that if a person falls while wearing the aid, it will detect the fall and call somebody.
“There are so many different technological advances in hearing aids that can make a difference in people’s lives,” said Woodruff.
Woodruff compares it to cell phones, where people now have their phone, whereas they used to have a CD player, phone, camera, calculator and other devices. Makers of hearing aids are trying to find things to integrate into their devices so they’re more user friendly and more advantageous for those using them.
He urges people to have hearing protection when around loud noises, or when they know they’ll be in noisy situations.
“God only gave us one set of ears, and the replacement equipment is never as good as the original piece of equipment,” said Woodruff.