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Jim Sopland has opened Valley Hearing Concepts at 1477 S. Knowles Ave., Suite 110, Room F. The New Richmond resident has worked from an office in Stillwater, Minn. for five years and recently decided to expand his hearing business.

Hearing company expands to New Richmond

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Jim Sopland has a passion for helping people hear better so it was only natural that he open an office in New Richmond, his home community.

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Sopland, owner of Stillwater, Minn.-based Valley Hearing Concepts, opened his New Richmond office, 1477 S. Knowles Ave., Suite 110, Room F, about two months ago. His goal is to have a positive effect on people's lives by helping them hear better.

Sopland got started in the hearing industry in 1999 when he began working for an independent company. In 2003 he started his own company in Roseville, Minn. and sold it in 2006. In 2007 he opened Valley Hearing Concepts in Stillwater.

Sopland said he mostly tests adults' hearing and makes recommendations based on those results. He also evaluates a patient's lifestyle to help identify the cause of hearing loss.

"The industry has changed so much," he said. "Most of my clients used to be 70 to 90 years old, now we're seeing 50 and 60 year olds."

That's because of the aging Baby Boomer generation, he said. Folks who lived through the beginning of the rock and roll era, Vietnam veterans, etc. are all starting to experience some sort of hearing loss, he said.

"Even our younger generation is having problems because of the ear buds," he said. "They're listening to their music way too loud. I say, if everyone else can hear the noise outside (your ear buds) it's too loud."

In addition to being able to recommend specific hearing aids, Sopland said he's also been able to identify other medical problems, including various diseases and tumors.

While he's not a doctor and can't diagnose patients, it's not uncommon for him to refer patients, he said.

"If you think you have a (hearing) problem, it's important to get it checked out," he said.

Sopland doesn't charge for his hearing tests and he offers 60-day trials with a 100 percent money back guarantee, he said.

"Today's hearing aids are not your mother's," he said. "They're virtually invisible on the ear."

Other capabilities include the ability to sync the hearing aids with cell phones, televisions and other electronics through Bluetooth technology, he said.

Sopland boasts a less than 10 percent return rating, compared to the 18 percent national average, he said.

"I have a passion for this and helping people hear better," he said.

Sopland said what many don't realize is that hearing loss affects the way people communicate and that people lose the ability to understand.

"People begin to feel isolated because of it," he said. "I'm selling people a way to communicate better."

Sopland said his New Richmond office is staffed by appointment only and that almost a quarter of his business consists of home visits.

For more information, call Valley Hearing Concepts at 715-246-0758.

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