President's Message

Hello fellow members of Missouri Hearing Society and welcome to the 2nd quarter of 2024. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Tom Wright, the new President of MHS. I entered the hearing healthcare field in February of 2007 and received my dispensing license in December of 2007. I spent my first nearly 11 years working for an independent dealer, as well as an ENT, and my last six working for Miracle Ear. That experience has given me a good perspective on how life is not only on the corporation side but also on the small business independent dealer side. I am very honored to be given the opportunity to lead our Society and want you to know that I am all in 100% to strengthen our group and help raise our Society to new heights of success for all of us. If anyone ever has a question, needs some help with an issue, or just wants to talk shop, feel free to shoot me an email and I will be happy to help any way I can.

The first order of business I’d like to address is our recent convention. In a word, the convention was simply a success. Our partnership with the Illinois Hearing Society resulted in quite an amazing event. First, we had exactly 100 attendees, which is a number we had hoped to reach. I am proud that of the 100 attendees, 61 were our MHS members, seven had dual membership, and there were also 14 non-members. That is the kind of attendance that should make us all proud. We also had a total of 23 sponsors/vendors which is a very good number. Our silent auction was absolutely stellar, bringing in over $58,000. If you take those things into account, as well as the wonderful learning opportunities we were given by our presenters, all I can say is WOW. None of those things would have been possible without the hard work of members from several of our committees such as, but not limited to, vendor, membership, convention, education, and silent auction. I would like to personally thank all these people for all their hard work. It is my hope that we continue to enjoy such success for our conventions for years to come.

I would like to also put forward a purpose for the next two years as your President and that purpose is twofold: NETWORKING AND ADVOCACY. I know many members are wonderful advocates for patients and hearing healthcare in general, but how many of you are advocates for YOURSELF? Our Society is composed of amazing people who help change lives every day which is a rare thing to be able to do in a field of work. It gives us meaning and joy to see how we can affect patients’ lives. However, we should also advocate for ourselves. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and get out there and explore new ways to get the word out about your work and YOURSELF. Networking is a great way to advocate for yourself and your business and not just in our field. 

Think outside the box … join community groups or business networking groups. Community service groups, such as Lions Club (of which I am a member), Kiwanis, Rotary, etc., are not only a good referral source but can also help with funding for patients who have affordability or access issues. My club has helped quite a few people during my six years in the Lion’s Club. Business networking groups (I’ve also done that and highly recommend it) can be a great way to get positive word-of-mouth advertising to get people in the door who might have otherwise never visited your business.

Some of our tried-and-true methods of years past like newspapers and direct mail are losing effectiveness. If you are in a business networking group, then potential patients who may be in an unrelated business might be able to address their own hearing needs or get the attention of one of their customers. A trusted long-term business relationship partner telling a potential patient “Hey you seem to have trouble hearing me. You should go visit (insert YOU here).” goes a long way towards improving your business. Also talk to local doctors in your area and offer your services for testing. Speak with doctors about noticing the issues some of their patients (even pediatricians) suffer with and tell them how you can offer testing, as well as fitting services. Referrals from trusted doctors and business relationships gives you a level of comfort to start with a patient that money will never be able to buy for you. Brag on yourself, your experience, and your talent … you’ve earned it.

In closing, I believe we are entering a moment of boundless opportunity in our field. It is hard to be on the internet, TV, or social media and not see an advertisement for hearing loss. Part of this is due to OTC. Many people have been worried about OTC affecting our business but I see it as an opportunity. Take advantage of this new spotlight shining on our field and get yourself out there and show how you are DIFFERENT. Show people how you are BETTER and how you CARE about their current and future hearing health versus companies just out to sell them a product without the professional care we all know is ESSENTIAL to a good outcome. Let’s all work together and take advantage of all these opportunities and take our field to new heights. A favorite quote of mine is from Tommy Lasorda the Dodger great who said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” I know we are a determined bunch, so let’s go out and show the world what we are capable of. 

Tom Wright, BC-HIS

2024-26 MHS President