Brenda Cowan provides award-winning customer service to people with hearing loss

Owner and operator of The Ear Depot won the Consumer Choice Award this year for business excellence

The Ear Depot owner and operator Brenda Cowan with team member Matt Paige celebrating the 2019 Consumer Choice Award for business excellence, awarded to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada based on an in-depth consumer evaluation process. The Ear Depot's customer-first focus has been key to the success of the independent hearing centre, which now has locations in Peterborough, Bancroft, Barry's Bay, Peterborough, and Marmora. (Supplied photo)
The Ear Depot owner and operator Brenda Cowan with team member Matt Paige celebrating the 2019 Consumer Choice Award for business excellence, awarded to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada based on an in-depth consumer evaluation process. The Ear Depot's customer-first focus has been key to the success of the independent hearing centre, which now has locations in Peterborough, Bancroft, Barry's Bay, Peterborough, and Marmora. (Supplied photo)

When Brenda Cowan opened the sealed envelope announcing her business had won the Consumer Choice Award, she was truly amazed by the news and she was deeply moved that so many people had taken the time to support her growing business, The Ear Depot.

The Ear Depot is the only business in the Kawarthas region to win a 2019 Consumer Choice Award for business excellence.
The Ear Depot is the only business in the Kawarthas region to win a 2019 Consumer Choice Award for business excellence.
“I mean, I didn’t enter the contest,” Brenda laughs. “I had no idea this had happened.”

Once the news sunk in and Brenda knew it was real, she took it as one more sign that helping people hear every conversation, better, is something she’s really good at.

Brenda owns and operates the Ear Depot, an independent hearing centre with locations in Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, Peterborough, and now also in Marmora. The business is thriving and growing — something Brenda attributes to trusting and empowering her team to deliver the best in technology and customer service.

“I was seeing that there was a lack of that old-fashioned service,” Brenda explains. “This is not just about the technology. We have the technology but without building a real relationship, there’s something missing.”

Hearing aid technology is challenging, and the device is only as good as the fine tuning that goes into it. And, according to Brenda, the fine tuning is a combination of understanding the technology and understanding the client’s needs.

Brenda works with her team to develop insightful and understanding relationships with each client. If they know where the client lives, what they do with their time, the different environments the client is going to need to hear in and have conversations in, that’s when the Ear Depot can make a significant difference in someone’s life.

“This all comes from within,” Brenda says. “You need to have that compassion for the client, and I love connecting people with people.”

Brenda Cowan began helping people return to healthy hearing in 1982 as a Hearing Instrument Specialist, and opened her own practice in 1991. Now, 28 years later, she and her team at The Ear Depot serve the communities of Peterborough, Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, and Madoc. (Supplied photo)
Brenda Cowan began helping people return to healthy hearing in 1982 as a Hearing Instrument Specialist, and opened her own practice in 1991. Now, 28 years later, she and her team at The Ear Depot serve the communities of Peterborough, Bancroft, Barry’s Bay, and Madoc. (Supplied photo)

Clients at the Ear Depot feel that connection from the moment they call to book an appointment, or when they walk through the door at any of the clinics. Each team member has been carefully selected by Brenda because of their ability to make that connection.

“It’s in their heart, it’s in their eyes — you can’t fake that,” Brenda says. “This is what we hear from clients. This is what they feel.”

And when people have trouble hearing, they have already lost that special connection with others.

The first impression is huge for Brenda and her team. She insists that it must be genuine and that it must be positive. Then the relationship is built, staff get to know the client, their family, and their needs. Once a product is recommended, time is spent fine-tuning it, testing it, and training everyone on how it will be used.

Follow-up is also huge for the team. If a client is not enjoying the anticipated results, the team will do whatever is needed to make sure conversation gets easier for those who have been struggling with hearing loss.

And hearing loss is a struggle. With all levels of hearing loss, the disappearance of certain sounds can happen gradually. In very subtle ways, even the most common hearing impairment can unknowingly become a very real strain on a person’s quality of life.

The Ear Depot owner and operator Brenda Cowan, shown here speaking at the Peterborough International Women's Day Conference, understands that developing insightful and understanding relationships with her clients is the most important step in helping them with their hearing needs. (Photo: IWD Peterborough)
The Ear Depot owner and operator Brenda Cowan, shown here speaking at the Peterborough International Women’s Day Conference, understands that developing insightful and understanding relationships with her clients is the most important step in helping them with their hearing needs. (Photo: IWD Peterborough)

When we don’t hear clearly what other people are asking or saying to us, Brenda explains, people pull away from social connection and conversation.

“Our passion at The Ear Depot is in helping people remove the barrier that hearing loss causes and bring folks back to confident and enjoyable conversation every day.”

Helping people get back to enjoying social interaction is what Brenda gets excited about. You can hear it in her voice and, with the Consumer Choice Award secured, she feels good about the positive changes she is empowering her whole team to make in an industry that is known for high-pressure sales and a lack of support.

“You can’t buy this vote,” Brenda laughs. “This comes from years of helping people and from all the five-star reviews that we have on the internet. This means so much to us.”

The Ear Depot is located at 236 Parkhill Road East in Peterborough (705-749-0707), 229 Hasting Street North in Bancroft (613-332-3754), 1 Madoc Street in Marmora (613-472-6134), and 12 Dunn Street in Barry’s Bay (613-756-9550). For more information, visit www.theeardepot.com or email info@theeardepot.com. You can also email Brenda Cowan at brenda@theeardepot.com and connect with The Ear Depot on Facebook and on Twitter.

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