Starkey Hearing drops discount program with the NRA

Major brands have been dropping their affiliation with the NRA.

Starkey Hearing Technologies has followed the lead of other major U.S. brands in dropping their affiliation with the National Rifle Association.

The Eden Prairie hearing aid maker confirmed on Saturday afternoon it would no longer be offering discounts to NRA members.

It follows wider scrutiny of the NRA in the wake of the Florida shooting, amid growing calls for stricter gun control across the country.

Multiple brands that offer discounts to NRA members started withdrawing their offers on Friday, with Hertz, Enterprise and MetLife among the companies cutting ties.


– Delta cuts ties with the NRA

Delta, which has a major Twin Cities presence, and United airlines followed on Saturday morning, with Starkey Hearing doing the same in the evening.

"We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA," the company said on Twitter. "We will be asking them to remove our information from their website. Our focus remains on bringing better hearing to people around the world in partnership with hearing professionals."

The company started in 1967 as a hearing aid repair business founded by William F. Austin, and has grown into a world leader on hearing technology with annual sales of $800 million in 2016.

It's been beset by controversy in recent years though, with the firing of long-time president Jerry Ruzicka along with several executives coming amid a federal investigation.

Starkey is best known for its charity foundation, which hosts an annual fundraiser in the Twin Cities that attracted A-list celebrities. It also gives away thousands of hearing aids around the world every year.

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