How does a young kid from Memphis, TN (home of hot sticky summers and BBQ) find himself making a home in Minneapolis, MN (home of long frigid winters and fried walleye)? For Ezell Jones, a keen interest in electrical engineering and excellence on the football field took him to the Twin Cities in 1965 and he’s been there ever since. The University of Minnesota had just won the Big Ten football championship when Ezell arrived with a football scholarship and he looked to carry on this winning tradition.
After spending four years playing offensive tackle for the University of Minnesota, Ezell focused his studies in math and psychology before transferring into risk management. His future would eventually take him into the Minneapolis business community, but his talents on the football field allowed him the opportunity to play professional football. Upon graduation, he was drafted by the New York Jets and was eventually traded to the Boston Patriots (later the New England Patriots) where he played 18 games over two seasons before moving on to his business career in the insurance industry, raising a family, and making a difference in others.
Ezell takes enormous pride serving as a mentor and being active in his community. He serves on the regional board of the Salvation Army, serves on the board of trustees for the University of Minnesota Foundation and is a donor and member of the University of Minnesota President’s Club. Ezell told me, “I want to see a legacy of diversity, help set things straight for this generation, and do my part to have an inclusive society.”
Ezell’s Hearing Journey
Ezell’s first experience with hearing aids happened somewhat by accident. “When the Super Bowl was in Minneapolis in 2018, I had my hearing screened as part of a medical screening. The hearing professional told me I had hearing loss and could be helped with hearing aids.” Ezell knew his hearing was affected and was then given the opportunity to try a pair of over-the-ear hearing aids from a local company. He was initially impressed with how they made speech sharper and easier to understand. In his own words, “I later realized I was compensating for my hearing and it had been affecting relationships with people in my life, especially my wife Kim.”
On a more humorous note, Ezell relayed a story about buying a new car, driving it off the lot and hearing a strange intermittent clicking noise. He took the car back to the dealer and told them something was wrong with the car. It was only after a careful examination of the car that he actually realized he was hearing the turn signal which he hadn’t heard for years!
Over the next few months while wearing the hearing aids outside shoveling snow, he took his stocking hat off and later realized he had lost the hearing aids. This actually happened on two occasions. When he contacted the local hearing aid professional who originally allowed him to try the hearing aids, he was given a replacement fee that in his mind was exorbitant and not “doing right by the customer.” Because of this, Ezell decided to go without replacing them. “Going back down that original path simply wasn’t going to be an option for me.”
Eargo Enters the Picture
Kim had updated her health insurance that covered a new pair of hearing aids for both of them. He noticed Eargo while on the Internet and found the size and rechargeable feature very interesting. He first reached out to Eargo and spoke with Maegan (Mae) Gordon. The two of them clicked right away. “What I really liked about Mae was how informative, clear, and thorough she was with all the details.” Ezell also added, “This allowed me to make a very informed decision about the Eargo hearing aids and feel good about the process.” After he paid the co-pay, Eargo filed the paperwork and his Neo Hifi hearing aids were on the way.
When his Eargos arrived, Ezell completed the Welcome Call with his licensed audiologist to make sure he was using his Neo HiFis properly. “The communication is simply great! The audiologist was very knowledgeable and the videos have been a wonderful reference.”
Having worn both over-the-ear hearing aids and now Eargo, Ezell brought up an interesting point that matters to him. “In my line of work, I don’t want anything to distract from the conversation. When I look back, the first hearing aids I had were visible and would invite comments and sometimes change the topic away from business. When I wear Eargo, nobody knows I’m wearing them and this is very important.” Furthermore, Ezell said he’s able to run and be active and there are no worries about losing them.
When someone like Ezell values and depends on clear communication to make a difference in his community, you never want to settle. Not only do his business relationships depend on it, but most importantly his family does. “Eargo just seems to do everything right and that means so much to me.”