Connect Hearing was the winner in the category of Best Audiologist/Hearing Aide Center in the E-T's Best of Erath awards gala.

We sat down with Doctor of Audiology Kaycie Muir to learn about the importance of hearing aids and the technological advances associated with them.

1. Connect Hearing opened in Stephenville about four years ago.

2. Connect Hearing provides testing and hearing aids for a wide variety of ages.

3. The office in Stephenville has two employees: Muir and Nicole Wilkes, but the practice is corporate owned and part of a wide group of offices in Texas.

4. Muir said that Connect Hearing is unique because their company lets clients try out the hearing aids.

“We let them go home with a trial set of hearing aids so they don’t have to do a lot of emotional things at once. They get to experience what it’s like to really be able to communicate with their friends and family again and that’s lots of fun,” she said.

5. Connect Hearing works with many different organizations like Veterans Administration, Texas Workforce Commission and Lions Club. Connect Hearing also works with almost every insurance plan and has flexible price categories.

6. Muir said that new studies have shown that if individuals with hearing loss don’t wear hearing aids, they have a three-fold risk of developing dementia.

“We know the hearing stimulates the brain as well so it becomes more and more important for people to get on top of that and take care of things earlier,” she said.

7. The technological advances in hearing aids have grown exponentially to where hearing aids are now comfortable, clear and they Bluetooth to phones and other accessories.

“The new hearing aides are simply amazing; they’re like little computers in your ear,” Muir said. “They Bluetooth to your phone and TV. My whole practice has never been this good, so they work.”

8. Muir loves her job and says it’s a good career for young adults to get started in because it has both a science and engineering component.

“Audiology is always ranked in the top 10 jobs because it’s engaging with people, so we’re always learning new things. It’s one of those jobs where 30 years later, I still love getting up every morning and coming to work because I get to help people,” she said.

9. The hours of operation at Connect Hearing are 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“People don’t have to be anxious anymore. [Hearing aids] let people re-engage with friends and family. We know that once their hearing loss gets worse and worse, they stop getting involved socially with people and that has a whole other overlay of emotional issues on top of it. We want people happy and engaged,” Muir added.