Huh?! Can you hear me now?! Ramsey meets with audiologist Bill Dickinson, TETRA Hearing co-founder. This episode is purely tell-not-sell and highly informational. While comfortably delivering premium technology, TETRA gives hunters natural hearing experiences while still protecting their hearing.  An articulate communicator, Dickinson explains how hearing works, how loud noise impairs hearing and why hunting different critters is not one-size-fits-all as far as our ears are concerned. He explains precisely how TETRA products were developed to optimize your experience based on what you’re hunting while also protecting your hearing. Shotguns, trucks, ammo, decoys, waders and jackets cost lots of money but are all replaceable. As Ramsey has learned the hard way, our hearing is not. Listen closely to this episode, folks, it’s a darned good one!

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Protecting Your Hearing on the Hunt

That is why every single person listening doesn’t wear earplugs because we call, and not only do we call, we have to hear those waterfowl.


Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere. I am in Las Vegas at Safari Club International, in the booth of Tetra, Hear the Hunt. And I’m going to tell you all right now. I want you all to listen up, huh listen, great story with Bill Dickinson, founder. His origins, who he is as a duck hunter, as a hunter, as one of us, but truly how he improved and enhanced my personal hunting experience from decades of willful ignorance when it comes to my hearing. Bill, how are you this morning, I appreciate you meeting me early.

Bill Dickinson: Ramsey. This is unreal. You know what it’s like? Remember your first time at SCI, right? And I’m an ear guy, I’m usually all about sound, but my eyes are wide open at this show. This is pretty impressive.

Ramsey Russell: It’s funny you say that because somebody, I walk around when I walked back to booth, I’ll stop, I’ll take pictures some of this taxidermy in artwork, it’s amazing. And somebody wrote me yesterday and they said, man, I never thought about shooting the line. Now I want to shoot four of because there is a big amount, four big lines on it. And to which I replied, there are critters on the face of earth. I never knew existed till I came to the show and I want to shoot them all.

Bill Dickinson: I can’t tell you how many times I walked through yesterday and I said you can do that. Yeah, it’s everything.

Ramsey Russell: Where are you all located?

Bill Dickinson: And we’re just outside of Nashville, just south of Nashville. Our office is in Franklin. And it all started kind of with a national story with a good buddy and I who were duck hunting and fishing buds at Vanderbilt. I moved there, born and raised in Michigan. That’s where I learned all my hunting and fishing and then it started.

Ramsey Russell: I didn’t think you had a Tennessee accent.

Bill Dickinson: No. Trust me, 20 years later I’m still reminded that. You may live in Nashville and you’re not from Nashville.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, Nashville is a beautiful city. And my favorite thing about after all these years of exhibiting at SCI, my absolute most favorite thing about this 50th convention is that next year they’re going to be in Nashville. And it’s going to occur after, well after the duck and goose season in North America. So I get to enjoy this without worrying about the front blowing in and duct blowing in and be missing out on great hunts.

Bill Dickinson: Well you know how and its landing for us. It’s landing right in between turkey season and duck season. So we ramp close things up on the waterfowl side and man the rocket ship just takes off for all our turkey products,. But that’s getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.

Ramsey Russell: Hey, well we’re going to get there. Bill, tell me about growing up in Michigan. You grew up a hunter. I’ve talked to you for years now. You are a hunter.

Bill Dickinson: Oh absolutely. And that’s at the core of it. That’s what we created the company for. You hear the cliche all the time about stuff like for hunters, from hunters and by hunters. And man, I grew up with this idea of like you can’t blow a duck call with something in your ear, right? You can’t have conversations, you can’t teach a kid how to do things safely and have those meaningful conversations while protecting your ear.

Ramsey Russell: Wait a minute. That is why every single person listening doesn’t wear earplugs because we call, and not only do we call, we have to hear those waterfowl. I have to hear them. And it’s a trade off because for years I had some fitted molds 20 years ago, just rubber plug and boy, let me tell you what, you couldn’t hear it, I couldn’t hear nothing, you know and but that’s the problem. Dove hunting, I didn’t need to hear something. Duck hunting, I needed to be, when I’m sitting there quietly talking to you in a blind, I need to be able to hear duck approaching.

Bill Dickinson: And you need to be able to work that call. And you just can’t do it. You know, you look back, you look in front of your life, you stand there and you’re looking in the future and you see all the stars and man, there, you don’t see a straight line anywhere, right there’s they’re just scattered, you’re like how am I going to get from Point A to Point B from right here?

Ramsey Russell: You come to a fork in the road, take it. That’s how?


A Sound Geek at Heart


Bill Dickinson: Yeah, you look behind you and you see a straight line, don’t you? You see every star aligned to get you to where you are in that moment in your life. And I had to come through Nashville to get to Tetra. I mean what I learned, both being on faculty at Vanderbilt and doing research there and then.

Ramsey Russell: Really, audiology?

Bill Dickinson: Yeah, Absolutely. Oh, heck. Yeah, I’m just a sound geek, just a near geek. But my buddy and I, David Geneva got practice in Nashville. And we got to be known as the hunting ducks in town. If you had hearing problems or if you just want to go talk about duck hunting and fishing and that kind of stuff, then you went to Vanderbilt. And you saw Dr. Dave or Dr. Bill. And honestly, that’s where we started the whole thing is being in Nashville, and I don’t even know if you know the story, Ramsey, about the big thing about Tetra is we modeled it after what we’ve been doing with the musicians, in music city, right? I couldn’t have done that up in Michigan working for Henry Ford Hospital.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve not heard the part about the musicians. 

Bill Dickinson: So you know how every, when you and I are going out —

Ramsey Russell: What do the hunting ducks do for musicians because I’m sitting there thinking, being a teenager with my ears ringing, leaving concerts, I know they weren’t ringing, it wasn’t a great concert.

Bill Dickinson: That was the guy.

Ramsey Russell: He’s got to be hearing it up on stage.

Bill Dickinson: And now look at every musician that we watch perform is wearing something in their ear these days. Our kids growing up now, they think that musicians just normally wear things in their ears, right? They were these super cool, high tech called in the ear monitors. And a lot of people think that those are there to protect their hearing and it does a little bit, but they’re really, they’re about the performance. And those things that the musicians are wearing in their ears, those high tech monitors, the drummer is completely programmed different than the bass guitar guy. And the backup singers are programmed completely different than the lead singer.

Ramsey Russell: Because they need to hear a different sound level.

Bill Dickinson: Absolutely, brother, that’s exactly what they need to hear for their performance, it’s fine tuned for what they want to hear and what they do best at the performance. And the cool part is it doesn’t matter what part of stage that musician is on when they’re performing their hearing exactly the same thing.

Ramsey Russell: Let’s go back, to the front of that trail before we got to the music before we got to Vanderbilt and Tetra hearing. Tell me about the little boy that grew up in Michigan hunting cattail marshes. Who did you hunt with? And what you hunt? How’d you hunt?

Bill Dickinson: It was literally standing in, we would walk in Saginaw Bay and we’d walk in, it’s all public land. Walk in cattail marshes and you’d find a muskrat hole, right? And you put your bag, and your shells, and your dog up on that muskrat house, and you’d stand there in rubber waders in the middle of November and December in Michigan sleeting snowing. It was back where you didn’t leave the house if it was sunny and blue skies. And now you can hammer them in sunny blue skies, right.


It’s Not About What You Want to Shoot, It’s About What You Don’t Want to Shoot

But you learned the words of privilege, and responsibility, and things like honesty and integrity, right?


Ramsey Russell: What was your first duck?

Bill Dickinson: My absolute first duck, I’m not embarrassed to say, I remember her very well. It was it was a brown head mallard. My first one was a mallard but it was the girl in Michigan right off a big lake here on Saginaw Bay. We’d shoot a redhead and then you’d shoot a green head and then we shot pintails, we shot blue bills. It was an absolutely – I grew up with the classic mixed bag.

Ramsey Russell: All those birds raft often like big water, the divers especially and then they would come into the marsh to shelter up, lay up during the day in the shadows. We captain waters.

Bill Dickinson: Once we got zebra mussels in the lakes, it just kept growing and growing and growing. I mean I grew up with the point system, where you got 100 points a day. And that was that’s where I cut my teeth on hunting.

Ramsey Russell: Back in the point system. Did you play the point or did you just shoot the next duck came in and hoped it was more, I mean you know till were 10 point birds. I guess blue bills were 10 point birds.

Bill Dickinson: There were 10 but that Susie was 70.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah.

Bill Dickinson: So, you got real good at trying to talk about learning to identify your ducks right? And it was more about not what you want to shoot. It’s what you don’t want to shoot.

Ramsey Russell: Who did you hunt with? Your dad?

Bill Dickinson: Grandpa and dad.

Ramsey Russell: They grew up duck hunters.

Bill Dickinson: Yeah, absolutely. I think I’m one of the classic ADD hunters right? Like I love what the season is. I love hanging in a tree with my bowl. And I love chasing them in the springtime and listen to those gobbles and listen to the whole woods wake up. But at the end of the day, if I, you know, I’m going to fight harder to not lose that 12 gauge, you have got to claw that out of my hand and standing in crappy weather, and being cold, and shooting ducks. That’s what built me.

Ramsey Russell: When you think back to go into that muskrat house, all those years with your dad and granddad, tell me an indelible image of that time of your childhood. There’s got to be a memory that you just talked about Thanksgiving tables and getting family gatherings from back in those days.

Bill Dickinson: You know what, what those days were, it was my rite of passage. Like I think those were the bridges into manhood right. And it had nothing to do with killing something, right? That’s of course a part of it. But hunting was, it was where you earned responsibility. You learned like you were given  —

Ramsey Russell: Dangerous weapon.

Bill Dickinson: Absolutely. And you had to earn that right. But you learned the words of privilege, and responsibility, and things like honesty and integrity, right? Like how easy it is to shoot maybe another extra teal because it’s only 10 points. Hell, no, you didn’t do that. In fact you left with 85 or 90 points because you might shoot the wrong duck. 

Ramsey Russell: Right. 

Bill Dickinson: Okay boys, time to wrap up. It’s been a good day. And you look down, I got four birds. There’s three guys and four birds on the muskrat house. It’s been a good day. That’s how grandpa always finished. It’s been a good day.

Ramsey Russell: What was your first shotgun back in those days?

Bill Dickinson: My very first gun was a 16 gauge Remington 1100, full barrel choke. And that I shot my first pheasant with that, I shot my first partridge up in Woodcock with that, everything.

Ramsey Russell: I can remember owning, my grandfather’s Remington 1100. And every time I hear that word I just remember. I was a senior in high school when he gave me his 12 gauge and I gave him back my 20 gauge. But I remember when he handed me that 12 gauge two and three quarter inch shells, I just thought that’s the last gun, I just envisioned the last gun I’ve ever owned. That isn’t true. You know my wife asked me how many shotguns do you need? I’m like I love all that, I need all of them. But anyway that it is a special gun, there’s nothing like that first, that first gun.

Bill Dickinson: In it is. And again like I think when I look back and what built bill and probably more importantly like the moments of where I think I’ve been the best dad, I’m not perfect dad, I’m not perfect person. But being my kid’s dad is absolutely one of the biggest things Lisa’s husband my kid’s dad that’s what defines me in Christ disciple. And you know what I say about defining as a man in that transition period of your life, like that’s where you, it’s the talks in the truck, right? It’s getting breakfast after the hunt. It’s talking about, and somehow like that’s what I turned all my kids have been in the woods with me in hunting and fishing. And some of the absolute best conversations I’ve ever had as a father have been in those moments, you know walking out to the deer blind or sitting in a duck blind when they’re not flying.

Ramsey Russell: Probably has a son to some of the conversations you had with your dad, with your granddad in the blind around there muskrat house. Where did you grow up? How did you? Well, back up, I’m going to ask you another question, but I had this thought that you’re talking about a little boy back in the point system, what kind of hearing protection did you wear?

Bill Dickinson: Well, a lot of it was, I remember, was foam plugs, right. Remember little yellow foam plugs?

Ramsey Russell: You were a little more progressive up north and we were in the south. I never knew anybody to protect it here in the south when I grew up.

Bill Dickinson: But you tried to do it, right? And I remember that, I did okay with it, grandpa never had anything in his ears.

Ramsey Russell: If you went to the shooting range. You know, we went to the shooting range where they were shooting clay targets or handguns, I had two index fingers, one for each year. More hearing protection.

Bill Dickinson: I’ve seen enough. Four, definitely. How many pictures I got off, nine millimeter and 45 casings in the ears, and that’s the hearing protection. And get it fancy, put a cigarette butt in it and then put it in your ear and that kind of stuff. But you’re right, you’re going to grab a case of clays and go with the backyard. Everyone going to put on some earmuffs for the most part, right? And you’re going to go sight in your rifle, you got something, man, you go out to the same guys can go out the next Saturday, do a duck blind and you can’t find an earplug or any mini hearing protection at all. And the worst part about it because you can’t do it, you already hit it, Ramsey, you can’t do what you’re there to do. You can’t be with your buddies, you can’t cut up and you can’t have fun and joke and laugh, and you don’t hear those birds working, and you don’t hear. My son and I were driving into the season, scouting and hit one of the big refuges outside of Big Sandy, Tennessee. Went up, got out of the truck, and you know what it was like, when you’re sitting there listening to 5000, 6000, 7000 birds on a refuge, and they’re just ripping it, and you can hear every little. You hear the pintails, you hear the Susie’s, you hear the green heads, you hear like, you hear gaddies. I said listen to this, jump back in the truck, put the windows up. You’re looking at the same dang experience, you can’t hear any of it and it’s not even the same thing, right? And that is what is driving. We created Tetra so that you can have that awesome hearing experience and still protect your ear.


The Tetra Solution to Hearing Problems

My specialty has always been about rehab, about returning the delight of sound, and that’s not as easy as just buying a hearing aid.


Ramsey Russell: I’ll tell you real briefly. My trajectory to right here wearing your product. I grew up in the sixties and seventies, early eighties. That was green shag carpet and linoleum floors. And he smoked on planes, and smoked in cars, and he smoked in restaurants in between bites, that’s how I grew up. And you didn’t wear hearing protection because it was a boy and this is a man’s sport. I mean we just didn’t wear, nobody thought to wear it. Break-break by the 80s I knew when I had children, excuse me, about 2000, when I started having children 25 years ago, I started putting little hearing muffs on them to protect those ears. I knew in college one time my algebra teacher, beautiful young woman, I think I flunked it three times, don’t read and I showed up to be around her, but I can remember her slamming down her chalk and turning around and just coming unhinged and about the disturbance. And I’m looking around everybody looking around and find a girl behind me, tug my collar and said, it’s your watch, turn your alarm off. And I’ve been wearing that watch for years and hadn’t heard that chain.

Bill Dickinson: You didn’t know it had alarm.

Ramsey Russell: I went to apologize to Miss Beautiful the teacher afterwards about it. And just, but I couldn’t hear how I can hear you whisper in a sawmill, I can’t hear high pitch, I can’t hear high frequency, I can’t hear songbirds. I was cutting timber in the forest and took the biologist with me to tally. Well, I called off volumes, and we got the lunch stop and he had all these bird codes and I go, what is this? He goes, well, all the warblers and stuff I’ve been hearing. I’m sitting there looking, I don’t hear nothing. He said, you don’t hear that, I said no, I don’t hear nothing. Could it be very high pitched. And one time I was at a club in North Mississippi, and we’re shoulder to shoulder in a six man blind, beautiful duck hole, ducks just fogging in. And this wasn’t too terribly long ago, almost like 10, 11, 12 years ago. The guests are some good friends who happen to be physicians. And on the first morning one of my hosts about three people down handed me a pair of muffs that were electric and I put them on. And I heard things I hadn’t heard in a long time. I heard gadwalls, and I heard green wings, and I heard the peeps and whistles. The next day he handed it down, and me being smart. and you try to tell me and everybody in the blind, all five of them, they said mofo, you are deaf, you’ve got to protect your hearing. I mean they’re like, we have entire conversations, you’re zoned out, you don’t hear us talking to you, and I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, it was a wakeup call like holy cow, how much hearing do I have and how to protect it? And you have it in your space of hearing protection. It’s proliferate. Everybody’s making this stuff, but they aren’t Tetra. And folks, listen up. Listen, we’re going to walk through some conversation of why it’s too late in the game. But I got it early enough, I’ve got to protect what I have left, so that I can hear it thunder sometimes. We’re going to walk through why Tetra is head and shoulders above the competition. First, tell me how you got from a little boy hunting in Saginaw Bay to audiology school? I’m thinking, were you interested in music?

Bill Dickinson: Yeah, no. I wish it was one of those easy steps. The truth of it all I wanted to be when I was growing up was a veterinarian. I went to college to be a veterinarian, you didn’t expect that one, did you?

Ramsey Russell: Took that fork, didn’t you? Yeah. 

Bill Dickinson: I took that fork. And I didn’t hear the word audiology. I heard the word audiology at a Halloween costume party by a cute little tree that said she was an audiology major. And I said, well I got to look into this, and you know everyone always asks like well did the boy get the girl? And I said, well no, but the boy found his major and that got him the girl. And I got my girl working at the VA hospital. My wife Lisa is a speech pathologist. And I remember the day I had – was my first job at the Ann Arbor VA hospital, taking care of some awesome veterans. And I remember the day she walked in as an intern and we’ve been together here, next month, 20 years, so I’m awfully proud of that.

Ramsey Russell: So you go all the way up to, I mean, you got your undergraduate, your master’s degree, your doctorate.

Bill Dickinson: Yes sir.

Ramsey Russell: And you are doing a lot of audiology research. What does that level of research entail in audiology?

Bill Dickinson: So my specialty has been, as I look at it, about is as simple as just restoring the delight of hearing. So there’s lots of parts of audiology. You can work in balance. You can work in cochlear implants. You can work and take care of newborn babies. My specialty has always been about rehab, about returning the delight of sound, and that’s not as easy as just buying a hearing aid. That system that you talked about, I love how you said, that you could hear a whisper in a sawmill, but yet your wife could be in a different room and ask you a question, you could not even – you don’t have any idea what she said, right? How the ear works is nothing short of freaking amazing. And then we take this sound, we create this sound coming out of pressure out of our lungs. Right now, I’m creating airflow that comes out of this track, this mouth and eye shape. Those sounds, I shaped those frequencies just like a duck, just like a turkey, just like a goose, just like an elk bugle. They all have their words in their language. And we create these sound waves. And now those sound waves have to travel across the room. This is super cool when you got these really high tech earmuffs that we’re using for this podcast because my voice sounds like it’s right in the middle of your head, right? If you and I are standing in here two hours from now, when this whole show room is full of people and noise, my sound waves are fighting for competition for all the other sound waves that are bombarding your ear. And those sound waves go in your ear canal, they vibrate that little ear drum and then they kind of transfer across this little bony chain, kind of like a swinging bridge over a gorge. And they create, on the other side of that gorge, those sound waves are now being pushed into like a fluid filled balloon, like a water balloon and it’s trying to get that water to shake, because when that water shakes and vibrates the nerves that are attached on the inside of that water balloon fire. They spark and then they take that frequency up to the brain. And so I always say we’ve been lying to kids for decades that we hear with our ear, we don’t hear with our ears, we hear with our brain. The ear is just the gateway of getting sound to the brain. To me ear is FedEx, it’s a package, it accepts the package, re packages it and delivers it up to the brain. But if that sound doesn’t get to the brain and the brain has to acknowledge what every sound of every word that I’m making or every quack, right?

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Bill Dickinson: Your brain has to acknowledge that. And in the inner ear is just a, this is what the magic and the beauty of how it was designed. Think about it. Your ears are working 24/7. Your ears are supplying information. And it does two things. You may fall asleep with the TV running, you may fall asleep with the fan running and your ears sending that up to the brain all night long. You’re dead to sleep but your brain has to apply meaning to it. That TV doesn’t mean anything that baby monitor goes off or the window breaks, or the car alarm goes off, or your alarm next to your bed goes off 03:30 for duck camp, right? And all of sudden your brain says, I got to pay attention to that, that’s meaningful.

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Bill Dickinson: The fan running in the room stimulated my ear and my brain all night, but I had to ignore that. And here is the magic grams. That’s why the inner ear is just a filter. It’s just an oil filter. It’s just an air filter, like your truck. And once we mess up that filter then we start understimulating those parts of our brain. And that’s where all of this great science that has come out in audiology, and not even, audiology really came out of some big neurology studies out of Johns Hopkins about 10, 12 years ago. And it was time they were looking at longitudinal aging studies. How people age? And they were following them for 10-25 years, and groups of 40 year olds, and groups of 50 year olds, and groups of 60 year olds, and they follow them for 10 or 15 years and make all these measurements. In about a decade ago, they started releasing all the findings of how we age and what we need to do to our bodies to maybe get more birthdays under our belt. And the biggest correlation that came out of that was the correlation between your hearing status in midlife and the likelihood that you’re going to have dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. And it was all about this, what we call cognitive load. If we are understimulating our brains, your brain has to work a whole lot harder. Man, I guarantee you’re out with your wife in a in a noisy Vegas restaurant, your brain was working 10, 15, 20 times harder than my brain. One a little bit younger. I haven’t had much birthday cake. But also because I’m blessed, I’ve been smart enough and lucky enough where I haven’t had any hearing loss yet in my life.


Restoring the Delight of Hearing on the Hunt

What we’ve done is we’ve optimized the sounds for the pursuit that your most engaged in. We correct for your hearing loss. 


Ramsey Russell: Bill, when I get into, and we’re talking about SCI, my biggest fear at SCI was that it was going to be a Nevada mandatory mask in this booth, you know why? Because everybody that comes to my booth and myself, we can’t understand what the other guys saying with the background noise if we can’t look at each other’s faces and read their lips. That’s the dilemma of an old duck hunter. And you know, when you’re in your 20s and 30s, I just, man –

Bill Dickinson: You’re 10 ft tall, bulletproof full of testosterone, like nothing can bring you down, right?

Ramsey Russell: But you know, it’s not until you get into your 40s and 50s and your dad and granddad’s age that your powers of enjoyment of what you’re going to be able to do and who you’re going to be able to do it with are optimum. And now you aren’t got that here. No you don’t enjoy the morning like you used to because you don’t hear the gadwalls, you don’t hear the whistling wings, you don’t hear the green wings sitting on the water 100 yards away. You’re just sitting in this emptiness unless something flies. Now it’s purely visual, you don’t hear those conversations. Huh-huh, you’re always saying. And now at the height, at the best part of your life, you’ve lost a very key element and that’s where I am. And you know, I don’t have many regrets in life, but not protecting my hearing, not knowing to protect my hearing at a younger age is singularly one of my biggest regrets because I have missed so much. And we make a big joke of it around the house. I mean my neighbors across the street can hear what I got on the television but I can’t understand it unless I have the words scrolling across the bottom. That’s horrible, Bill.

Bill Dickinson: Ramsey, that’s why we’re here, like I can’t tell you how important it is for the words that you just spoke. And we’ve never even – we’ve had some awesome conversations. It’s been an absolute joy getting to know you over the last couple of years. You’ve never gone that deep with me on that. You’ve never said that. And we hear it all the time, and that’s what drives, and that’s the core of Tetra. If we can raise a different –  this is all about, it’s not about the widget, I mean the guys on the team will hear me say it all the time. This is not, we don’t wake up, I don’t wake up every morning, but how do we sell widgets, right? It’s not about the thing. We need to change the culture. We need to change the conversation. We need to start having these conversations. These young men and women young kids and you know how impressionable they are, right? Oh, they’re just stimulated, stimulated, stimulated. Every scroll of the thumb. And they need to hear the words. And there’s less mentorship going on. There’s less granddad’s taking their kids out hunting. We know what’s going on with the numbers in this. We have got to start having conversations about that. You get one set of ears and that ear is stimulating your brain, and I know right now at 15 you can’t imagine what life is going to be like at 65, right?

Ramsey Russell: You know, running down to the Napa store and getting a new ear filter, like what you’re talking about.

Bill Dickinson: No, you can’t. The only way we get in the inner ear is when the good Lord takes you. It’s called forensic audiology. Other than that we cannot get to that inner ear, we can’t operate on it, we can’t fix it, we can’t. If there’s a little bit of hearing left, and we do something really fancy like a cochlear implant, we’re destroying whatever is remaining in that ear. And now we’re stimulating artificially by some electrical sound. And it’s a miracle. If you’re born without an ear that has, if you’re born deaf, If you become deaf, like restoring, again, restoring the delight of hearing. It is impossible if you have had nothing but your ears stimulating your brain 24/7, every day of your life. It’s impossible for us to envision what it’s like to not have that, but I can’t tell you how many people have sat in front of me over my 31 years of doing this, young guys in tears. And they’re tough, tatted up construction workers, and they said they would do anything, they would pay, they would go get any loan they could get if they could just get their ears back.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, there’s no price I wouldn’t pay. Bill, yesterday you made a comment. You’re in music city, you talked about that. You moved to music city, attention down this path. You got involved in music, musicians. How did you come from being an audiologist to, wow, these musicians, the bass player, the drummer, the lead guitarist. How did you put that together? And how did you execute that? Because that was your threshold into where you are now with Tetra.

Bill Dickinson: So when we fit real fancy high end $4000, $5000, $6000, $7000 hearing aid systems. We take your hearing loss and then what we do is we have different prescriptions for what you need to hear. Is that speech, is it music? Is it outdoors? Is it birds? We have targets of what you need to hear. We correct for your hearing loss. But the biggest part that we take is what’s the environment, what’s the listening? What’s the acoustical condition that you’re listening in? What’s the background noise? How we amplify – if you were fit with hearing aids by me last night – how that device is working in your quiet hotel room versus in a noisy restaurant is completely different. We’re targeting how we process sound. So all we did is we took that same philosophy, and again the musician stuff we talked about the drummer, and the bass guitar, and the lead singer, they all have different roles and they need to hear different things. And I just took that philosophy and put it into the hunting world. 


The Process of Creating a Hunting Hearing Device


Ramsey Russell: Customized for the music can now be customized for the hunting experience.

Bill Dickinson: There you go. And that waterfowl hunter needs something completely different than the turkey hunter. And the turkey hunter needs something completely different than the elk hunter out in New Mexico. And the elk hunter in New Mexico is very different than the guy hanging in a tree looking at a Midwest thicket waiting for a whitetail deer, or in South Dakota flushing pheasants or chucker. What we need to hear? What we’ve done is we’ve optimized the sounds for the pursuit that your most engaged in. We correct for your hearing loss. And then we optimized the sounds. You would have loved it. One of the best days of Tetra before we, this is part of the research and development, the building phase, through this we’ve gained awesome friends, present company included right here. But one of the first was Harold Knight. I grew up reading about Harold Dave Ritchie in the Detroit news. Every Sunday morning I get up and that’s the first thing that I’m going through is getting that outdoor page, and it was usually about Harold and David. And so we’ve got to be good friends with him. He came down to Nashville. He sat in clinic for two days. He brought a box full of calls and we put 2-5 hour periods. We put a microphone down on his eardrum, and Harold sat there and just blew duck and goose calls. We made over 1000 recordings of what it sounds like when the master himself, who makes the calls and six time World Championship caller. And if anyone knows about blood, and mud, and cold and wet and duck hunting, it’s Harold Knight. So that was actually, that was day one, that was the foundation of what we did because what we did is you make all these recordings, you run it through all these fancy spectral analysis, and you come down and you can create one way form. And if it came out of a duck or goose throat, it has to include these certain frequencies.

Ramsey Russell: Now, what it sounds like across the room while somebody blowing that call what it sounds like in that ear canal.

Bill Dickinson: Yes sir, at the eardrum with a microphone right on his ear drum and recorded a 1014 recordings. And then you just keep doing spectral analysis and you came out and this is the waterfowl frequencies.

Ramsey Russell: You build the profiles of those species, like the base like the drum, like the guitar.

Bill Dickinson: There you go. And then that’s what we, and we just received full patent rights on the replication of animal sounds. And it started with the waterfowl call and it started with this is our waterfowl frequency. And if it, if a duck or a goose makes it, it has to have certain energy in certain bands. And then that’s our formula. So and then we go through and we made acoustical measurements of being in a metal goose pit. And in flooded rice fields in Missouri. And we made measurements of standing and flooded timber. And we made measurements of being in open air cattail marsh. And so what we know is what’s going on around us. We know what you need to hear. And more importantly and this is the cool part. We know what you don’t need to hear. And there’s two things.

Ramsey Russell: And excuse me, when you talk about those environments, you’re not just talking about waterfowl, you’re doing this for whitetail deer for upland game birds for a dove field, for waterfowl, for goose.

Bill Dickinson: They are uniquely different. Your dove field is probably different than my dove field, right? And so but guess what? It’s still a dove field and that’s very different than standing on the rim of the canyon in New Mexico trying to chase an elk. 

Ramsey Russell: That’s exactly right.

Bill Dickinson: Or being in a hardwood thicket chasing a gobbler. And so while everyone is uniquely different, there’s still enough commonalities. Like we know the South Dakota pheasant field is very different than a flooded timber hole in Louisiana. And so this is again where we just kind of took all of the acoustical science. What we’re trying to do is create an awesome listening experience. Everyone’s like Tetra, you’re the man, it’s on fire, and you’re the new hearing protection company. And to this day I still say no sir, we’re the new hearing technology company. In the idea, what I say with that, is that’s what drives us. It’s about creating an awesome listening experience so that you have no reason to not have something in your ear, and this is the cool part. From a technology standpoint, we’re processing sound through some very high tech filters, 12 bands of energy or 12 bands of sound processing, 16 bands of sound processing. Well, in our 16 band processor, the gun blast is only occurring in five of those bands. And so part of our formula when that trigger is pulled, we can immediately shut down just the bands where the gunshot is occurring. We don’t have to shut down everything. What the traditional standard was is that it would shut off all sound. And anyone who’s been trying to wear these while they’re duck hunting knows exactly what I’m talking about. That gun goes off and boom. Everything’s quiet for about a second and a half to 2.5 seconds. And then it comes back up and it creates, there’s a lot that can go on in a duck blind in 2.5 seconds. And you’re shut down. And so all we have to do is shut down where the gun blast occurred. Everything else stays open. That’s the biggest reason, I remember when you said you couldn’t believe like, and I remember you were so polite the first time that we talked. When you got your product, and you called, and you said you were 100% right. I can blow my call, but better yet, I can hear normally when all the guns are blaring.


Personalized Hearing Loss Solutions

 We’ve got to make your ears work equal and normal so that you can have restored that ability to localize where sound is coming from.


Ramsey Russell: You know, Bill, way back when after cutting that timber, I realized then that I was in my thirties, I need to do something, and I went to an audiologist that kind of came through that little small town I lived in once a week, and I sat down and got my hearing tested. And he tried to sell me the regular hearing aid, that ain’t going to work. I needed the digital, I needed the Dolby equality. And he’s going to calibrate it, and do all this and do all that for $2,000, which to a young government foster might as well have been a new Chevrolet truck, $2000. But I was willing to buy them. I wanted to hear that again. And here I said, well deal, but I want to take him home for a week, and I could hear sand under my crocs walking in the shop and it sounded like somebody beat a drum. But I can look at that Malcolm Byrd 50 yards away and I couldn’t hear it. And I took them back and said, and I said, well, I didn’t think that works. That’s what he told me, well, I was hoping it worked but I guess it didn’t, I just can’t fix you here and I can’t do nothing for you. But I will say this, I have worn some of the other hearing protection in this space. I have worn other name brands, bought one pair at a hunting show 10 years ago. Put them in, I could keep them in for about 30 minutes and then they were just so uncomfortable and painful. They had to come out. I bought another pair that just kept glitching and kept messing up, there were a little more comfortable. But we’re talking about some tiny electronics, and if I’m in a dove field, I’m sweating. If I’m duck hunting, I may be getting rained on. Lord help me if I drop them in the water. And I’m prone to do that. But I’m just saying it’s a very delicate product, but all of a sudden I’ve become involved with Tetra. And step number one, now, on the one hand, you all have gone in and created all these sound profiles for different hunting scenarios and species and stuff. But on the other hand, the very first step of the process was I took a hearing test. And so that you all could calibrate, you all could somehow translate those profiles into my hearing loss. That is a massive difference. Is anybody else even doing that?

Bill Dickinson: They’ve gambled in it. It’s not a consistent and it’s the biggest thing. Boy, it makes a heck of a difference. If we can, it’s about creating a personalized response for you, for your ears, for your needs. And if we don’t take the broken ears and let them hear better, it doesn’t matter how all the other fancy stuff. I mean it’ll be good, but what makes it great is personalizing, is knowing what your ear needs. And it’s really two things. It’s the way that our were not born. Little babies aren’t born with the ability to localize sound. Matter of fact, we don’t gain that until about week six to week nine or 10. And that’s why if you hold a brand new baby and you’re holding their head and there’s noise going on, you see that head bobble and kind of like a bobble head these days. And that’s how that brain is learning to localize that when he or she little baby, five weeks old, here’s mama’s voice over there on the left side and looks over there and sees mom and gets that big smile or sees the bottle coming or sees its food time. That is how the brain is learning and teaching itself that when I hear these cues and I get reinforced by something good’s ready to happen here cause mama’s coming on the left side. That our ability to tell where sound is coming from happens about week six or week 9. It happens because our ears, if sound is over here on my right side, Ramsey, my right ear is getting and sending my brain a uniquely different message than my left ear. My left ear is hearing the sound but it takes longer for that sound to get over to my left ear. My big melon on my head blocks some of it off. So some of that sound that my right ear is getting, my left ear is not getting. So it’s a timing difference. There’s a, what we call a loudness difference and the frequency difference. And though how our brain processes that sound is what tells me that whatever noise that I just heard coming from behind me, I don’t know what that was but my brain knows because my ears got a little bit different cues. What do we do? Especially that duck hunter that’s been pulling triggers for 20, 30 years. We have asymmetrical hearing loss. If you’re right handed shooter, that left here is what’s eaten all the barrel blast. And so you end up with 20, 30, 40, and 50% more hearing loss on the opposite side that you pulled the trigger with.

Ramsey Russell: So my right left ear of Tetra is calibrated differently.

Bill Dickinson: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Because my what —

Bill Dickinson: We’ve got to make your ears work equal and normal so that you can have restored that ability to localize where sound is coming from.

Ramsey Russell: Let me back up just a minute ask you a question because you were talking about the oil filter in here and how the ear functions as a filter. What does loud noise do? What does firearms do? Why are my ears ringing? What’s going on there? What happening? Why do my ears ring? 

Bill Dickinson: That’s an absolute great question. That’s what we get. Your ears ringing is a signal that there has been an insult to your inner ear, to the nervous system. We’ve got our hearing system that, that FedEx, that packaging and delivery system, there’s a parts component. That’s the ear drum and that swinging bridge I talked about. And then there’s a nervous system component. That’s the delicate nerves that take, they are called hair cells. And those hair cells are very fine little fibers just like this carpet. And you know after three or four days in this booth, just like a deer trail going through the woods. The reason you can, anyone can walk through there and see that this is where the critters are traveling is because they wear down that dirt and that vegetation. This carpet is going to get worn down where everyone’s standing the carpet behind at the back of the booth, up against the wall, that’s going to look perfectly normal. It’s going to be fine. Our inner ear is exactly like that. There is this delicate carpet fibers. And what happens is that we’ve got these tiny little hair cells on top of each of those individual nerves. And when that impulse noise, doesn’t matter if it’s a gunshot, doesn’t matter if it’s a loud hen mallard hail call when that loud noise goes in. And we talked about pushing that water in that water balloon, it pushes too hard on those little delicate hair cells so they get stamped on, trampled on, they start to fall down, they start to get crippled. When those get crippled, when they get insulted that’s what the ringing is. Ringing comes from lots of different things. This is the most prevalent one, so there’s an artificial firing, its kind a like the timing on a smart plug. There’s an artificial misfiring that creates this phantom noise. And so there’s electrical activity that is going on and your brain is perceiving that is sound because those fibers have been damaged and they get damaged by too much noise. The shockwave, you see bullets going through the gel foam and you see the shock wave of when a bullet hits an animal, that shockwave is exactly when a loud sound is going and sloshing that water too hard. It’s what happens. It’s what we’ve learned. I mean, you talk about, jeez, we can feel so many different, like we talked about what we’ve learned from with football, with concussion injury, right? We talked about what we’ve learned, you and I grew up, I guarantee you, you weren’t wearing a seat belt growing up right in that truck in Mississippi, right? 

Ramsey Russell: No, heck no.

Bill Dickinson: My kids, I’ve got 25, 23 and 18. They don’t know what it’s like to be in a moving vehicle unrestrained, and I got a heck of a better story involved in that. But like, we’ve involved, we know what the human body can handle from. That’s why we’re designing better football helmets and we’re coaching differently. And whether we like it or not and trust me, it frustrates me as a football dad, as much as anyone. Like we’re throwing flags when flags probably shouldn’t be thrown necessarily and certainly weren’t throwing back in the old days. I was taught to play football, you put your head down, you put your crown of your helmet in their numbers and you run them over right. Now you’re kicked out of the game for that. And it’s all about our brain sloshing. High impacts, we know what high impacts do to our bodies and our inner ears are just the same thing. And man, it’s not what we’re doing at Tetra. We’re talking about changing the culture, changing conversations. That is exactly why it’s I’m so proud to be able to sit here with you and just be talking about this. If this helps someone by Tetra, that’s awesome. But if these types of conversations, Ramsey, and the motivation that you have with the platform that you’ve earned and how you, I can tell you feel this in your heart and your soul and that you want things to be different. If that makes a bunch of six, seven and eight year olds experience a protected hearing at duck hunt, the very first time that there’s something in there. And they walk in there and they see their two older brothers, Uncle Tommy, and Granddad, and Dad. And that eight year old kid hasn’t slept for three days because he knows he’s going to build on his first big hunt in the big blind. And they walk in there and everyone’s got something in their ears, then my job is done, and I don’t care. It’s not about selling the widget man. It’s about if we change the culture. Because if we can get them to do it when they’re having fun, if we can talk about protecting what God gave you, one set of, while you’re having fun pulling triggers, then we can start talking about. When you’re riding the tractor, planting your food plot, or when you’re cutting wood, when you’re running a chainsaw, when you’re blowing leaves, when you’re pushing a lawnmower, when you cut your first board, we can talk about these transitions into most of, and again, I’ll say this, it’s mostly young males. Kind of that transition into responsibility and being able to do, you know the big things in life involve dangerous stuff and involve noisy stuff. I think the first time you get to drive the tractor by yourself, the first time that you get to use the chainsaw by yourself, the first time that your – man, I remember my six year old son couldn’t wait to start cutting the grass. He’s a heck of a good kid, but cutting that grass is the last thing he can do now. But he always did it with hearing protection in his ears. And that’s because he grew up with just a dorky old dad that made him do it. And he’s never shot a gun. He doesn’t know what it’s like to shoot a gun without a hearing, without something in his ears.

Ramsey Russell: In my journey to protect what remaining hearing I have, I started with the muff. Just like the ones that God had given me, problems. Some of these mufflers design on rifle courses attenuate one shot, not the 2nd, 3rd shot. Problem. They get hot on ears. You put them up on your head, you turn around and they fall in the water. The most aggravating problem, why I refuse to wear muffs while shooting they interfere with my gun mount. Well now I’m sitting out here going through all the motions of duck hunting and when it comes to critical moment of killing the duck, I’ve got something fighting from my cheek space. I got this muff right here. That does not let me mount my gun. Along comes these inserts, I’m going to call them, you all hearing devices. But whereas a lot of folks in this space have one designed, you all got several. I’m sitting here looking at three of them laid out on the table, walk me through. And I’m going to tell you, you told me that universal fit was comfortable. I’m like, no, but let me tell you that universal fit you all had was is the most comfortable cat’s meow hearing device I’ve ever worn in my life. I could put them in the morning and, don’t tell nobody I was wearing a hearing aid. I can wear them all day. It was great. So even if 20 years ago I had bought that digital hearing aid, I could have heard better, but it wouldn’t have protected my hearing. Now along comes you all, I can hear better. It’s calibrated for the critters, for that environment, tailored to my hearing. It’s comfortable because I had sitting on my head, it doesn’t interfere with my gun, and I can hear better, and I’m protected. I mean it’s a double whammy all the way around, man. But I’m sitting here looking at tell you, you all have got some innovative, and I know that all three of these are fit for a different purpose or a different thing. Walk me through your product line right here.


Tetra’s Product Line


Bill Dickinson: Yeah boy, so to make it simple we’ve got two categories. We got what we call an Amp Series and it’s all about amping up the experience, and that’s really for, it’s gun suppression and amplification for what you need. It’s the turkey hunters. It’s this little device right here, it’s turkey, whitetail, elk.

Ramsey Russell: What will this little device help?

Bill Dickinson: This is the Amp Pod. And the white one’s for the right ear, clear one’s for the left ear. And the idea is that this fits very deep down in the ear canal. The microphone of this is right at the opening, which means that you get to use all of this structure that is on the side of our head is designed with an exact purpose. It gathers sound in that bowl that we have and all the little folds there sitting underneath this earphone right here. It’s more than just holding up our sunglasses. It enhances certain frequencies that sound comes in and it’s deflected down into our ear canal as it bounces off and all of that outer ear, that piece on the side of our head is exactly what allows our brain to here in pinpoint where sound is coming from. That’s why that big buck, when he can sit there and turn that here back and forth, he can take that’s like radar.  And the reason that they can hear so dang well, which keeps them alive, is because they can gather that sound. They got those big muscles. He can point that to the side, he can point it to behind them. He doesn’t have to move his head and get danger. You can just move that ear, right? And so what we designed our, like for when you want to hear and you need to suppress a single gunshot. Turkey hunter, deer hunter, elk hunter, that kind of stuff. We have the Amp Pod and this is all about being able to overamplify the experience, the bugle. For the whitetail hunter, it’s all about, we went and digitized animals walking through, we set in trees forever and just digitized the sound, had microphones all over, in the middle of August and had a nice little corn snack, and just get deer to come walking through. And the idea is that those are the frequencies that we’re going after and we got to get rid of all the other stuff. 

Ramsey Russell: If you can figure out a way for me to filter out armadillos and squirrels making up on me instead of whitetails.

Bill Dickinson: One of the best days, the best parts of yesterday, the first thing here is I loved all the couples. It’s a bunch of husband and wives that are walking through here. It’s very much a family event. And I can’t tell you how many times we kind of have this conversation, we talked about that we digitized and we enhance certain frequencies and we get rid of other frequencies. And one old boy yesterday he said, so wait a second, you can take a sample of sound and you can decide whether you want to increase that or decrease that. I knew exactly where he was going. He was long standing there. He said, so if I get her voice you could decrease that. I said, well yes sir, we could. I said, but what we have is we have an app that we send out and when you buy these. And I will be happy to get a voice sample, have her read something in there and I’ll have her voice and the app goes out. There’s a bidding process for one hour, and she gets to bid and you get to bid, and whoever bids higher, I will either enhance her voice or decrease her voice. So it’s up to you guys.

Ramsey Russell: Walk me through the next product.

Bill Dickinson: This is the Custom Shield. And again, so this is custom molded for your ear. This has been the kind of the gold standard of the industry, part of why we designed the company is with the Alpha Shields and one that you started off with that universal fit. A lot of people call it a seashell. We spent forever tweaking, and tweaking, and tweaking, and trying to get that to fit as a universal fit. I’m going to tell you this. And this is one of the things about, starting finally realizing my dream at over 50 years of age of finally owning my own business and getting a, you own all the glory and all the failures.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Bill Dickinson: And this is one of the things that we were just dead wrong on, but we were wrong in the right direction. So it really helped us out. As a hearing doctor I would have never, ever believed. We’ve got about 7600 of these Alpha Shields out in the field and we’re still sitting on over 96% fit rate. That we can fit 96 out of 100 ears. Ramsey, I would have taken that bet five years ago, I would have bet against that, and I would have said there’s no way that you can put one product in 96 out of 100 ears. And honestly, we were shooting for 85 ,or we were shooting for 75% during our build phase and research and development. I would’ve been happy with 7 out of 10. And we just kept tweaking and tweaking, and it was about the sound, and getting the adjustment, and in reality, the reason we worked so hard on that is to get away from this critter, to get away from this custom one is because the custom one, you got to go into a clinic, you got to get an ear impression, there’s a pain in the butt factor with it. It’s just plain old is. I wanted you to be able to jump on our website to take a hearing test, to pick what specialty products that you want. You order it at 10 o’clock at night, we get the order, we program your hearing test and ship it the very next day. And you have it in two days. And then it goes on all the time like that. And that’s what we’ve won a ton of awards. You’ve seen some of the stuff we got sitting around here with NRA, and guns and ammo. And it was and it’s all on this new form factor of the alpha shield, the universal fit. 

Ramsey Russell:  At your convenience. 

Bill Dickinson: And it really is and it works phenomenally well. But over 30% of our orders are still customers. You know the guys that are really committed to it and they’re like, I want it to be the best that it can possibly be. And so this is one of the rechargeable custom plates one, this is a multipursuit.

Ramsey Russell: That right there is the most genius development I have seen. I’m telling you, right about the time I think you all have, okay, these guys are the best. I’m proud to have my Alpha Shield. Yeah, I come by and you’ve got this rechargeable, cause I’m going to tell you what man, me handling a little bit of hearing aid batteries, it’s like working with catcher’s mitts on. I hate it. I’m on a bumpy road usually. And I’m wearing my little headlamp, fixed to go duck hunting. And now all of a sudden I just pull them out of my rechargeable case it’s just like the air pods, boom.

Bill Dickinson: Yeah, It’s in a nice little pelican case there for storage. How we put it together with the magnet. So it always aligns itself, you just drop it on the charger sitting at about twenty to twenty four, for some guys are getting twenty six hours per charge. So you can certainly hunt all weekend. Get three to four days of a good hunt on a single charge. Full charge in three hours. I’ll tell you this because I guarantee you at some point, you’re going to forget about charging, you’re going to have to charge them in the truck. It’s USB so you can plug it in just like you charge your cell phone.

Ramsey Russell: No problem.

Bill Dickinson: Fifteen minutes of charging gets you about thirty five, forty minutes of use. So if you ever have to just do a quick emergency, you know, charge. And we got guys, you can run, they’re taking their portable phone chargers out to the duck blind with them, and they’re leaving the charging case in there, and everyone can just throw them on in the duck blind.

Ramsey Russell: Bill. The thing about me is like this big road trips and stuff I do like this. What makes this so much more convenient to me than batteries is I got a power strip in my truck for dog collars, for all the little accouterments. That’ll stay plugged in. I’ll get the truck after the hunt, drop it on the charger, go to my next location, put my hearing protection and I’m done. I mean it’s just genius.

Bill Dickinson: Well, what you just did is the goal. Like you just made hearing protection essential gear for the waterfowl hunting. And that’s man, it needs to be just like the bullet, and the gun, and the decoys, and I realized there’s a sex appeal to buying all that stuff. And all these young studs, they want to buy something better, and they want more decoys, and they think that they need to have eight dozen. I mean, I grew up carrying fourteen.

Ramsey Russell: And that’s I know where you’re going with this, here’s the deal, Bill, these isn’t cheap. This isn’t like a dozen knockoff decoys made out of milk jug plastic. These aren’t cheap. These are an investment in my hearing. But you all are right on the price point of everybody else selling it. But you’re doing it better. You’re doing it different. Bringing out American value into it.

Bill Dickinson: Well, I love hearing that from some guy that’s not getting paid to say it, that means that the whole world to me and that’s something exactly where we’re at. And I’ve got a board of investors and advisors with Tetra and they kind of keep pushing. They’re like, the deeper that they get into it. And they look at the competitive landscape and they’re like, there’s no competition. This is hand and foot above the rest, and they’re like, but you’re priced right in there. And I’m like, we want to keep it, we want to keep the barrier to entry is as low as possible. But, and I’m telling you, we spend more time on the R&D of how do we get a less expensive product, not a more expensive product. Its super easy to make it more expensive right to add value to it. And we got some cool stuff. We got forty eight channel systems that we’re looking at. We got but what I want because I want it to be, too, where like if you’re a serious hunter, then you can get this. And that’s what it needs to be about. And that’s the message.

Ramsey Russell: We start off talking about back in the 70’s, green shag carpet, points limits, the whole work. You know back in those days ice chests were a buck, they were Styrofoam, and they were disposable. Now look what’s on the market. I can go, I have got a Yeti ice chest in the  back of my truck that had been there for 22 years. I paid dearly for that thing. But there it is. And we don’t think nothing about buying a $600 ice chest, or a $600 dollar crate, or a $2000 shotgun, or $700 bills, or a $600 coat, or a $200 duck call or $2 trigger pull, ammo or we want good. But you know, I do believe. And this is coming, this isn’t me, a perfect here and just wish, this is me looking in that rearview mirror. This is essential for somebody that shoots at all, let alone as much as I do. This is a very essential investment. If you want to be at that stage of life where your house is paid for, your kids are gone, you’ve now got time and money to really enjoy life only you can’t hear the hunt no more. Don’t be that guy. Bill, how can everybody get in touch? Tell everybody real quick how they can get in touch with you and Tetra.

Bill Dickinson: Well, you can, that’s the best part about it, you know, you slit it in. Everything that we do. Everything that you’re looking at right here is made in the USA. Our two labs are in Orlando and Minneapolis. We’re right in Nashville. You can get to us the easy way on the website or Either one will get you there. You can chat with us. There’s a phone number there. One of us are going to pick up the phone.  Anyone can have my cell number. This is a bunch of dudes. I need to get some girls working here by the way. But right now it’s a bunch of dudes that just absolutely love helping people. I couldn’t believe, the best part about it, I could go home. Well, I will say it, I was laid out. Two weeks ago, man, that little virus finally caught up with me. And I wasn’t one of the guys that thought they had the sniffles or maybe had a cold. I was laid out, right. I’ve had emergency problems with my family back up in Michigan. These guys, this team are freaking awesome. You’ve met them all around here. Like, when I was laid out they ran the show. You call, they will talk to you, and they’ll walk you through it. There’s no high pressure. We talk about your hunting. We talk about what you need, talk about your hearing. We want to be the most approachable, kind of redefine customer service. And the men and women that we deal with absolutely love it, our customers. What made me so proud, I can’t tell you how many times I had moms calling and saying my teenage son has this on their Christmas list. This is all he wants for his birthday, 12 year old, all he wanted for his birthday. Like that made my heart, like I couldn’t keep it inside my chest. Like, those are awesome moments. On that day, I can’t tell you how many we sold. I don’t know, I could care less. I don’t know if it’s a great sales day or a bad sales day, but that day was awesome because that mom said that there’s a 12 year old kid who’s this is all he wants for his birthday.

Ramsey Russell: Absolutely. Well, he won’t be old and deaf like, yours truly. Bill, I appreciate you breaking away this morning joining us. I really do. People ask me, they’ve seen me for years wear this hearing device, and they say which one, which one do you use? Tetra. You know, what I’m saying? And folks, now you know why I use Tetra because they have taken the audiology side and customized it for deer, and upland, and waterfowl, or whatever. And then they’ve taken my old deaf, cruddy, here’s my damaged oil filters, and they’ve custom tailored each ear for me to hear that experience. I do hear the hunt and I’m trying my best to protect what hearing I have left. It is precious to me. It should be precious to you. Bill, thank you very much for joining us today. And folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of Ducks Season Somewhere. You’ve been listening to Bill Dickinson, Tetra, go to and check them out. See you next time.


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Benelli USA Shotguns. Trust is earned. By the numbers, I’ve bagged 121 waterfowl subspecies bagged on 6 continents, 20 countries, 36 US states and growing. I spend up to 225 days per year chasing ducks, geese and swans worldwide, and I don’t use shotgun for the brand name or the cool factor. Y’all know me way better than that. I’ve shot, Benelli Shotguns for over two decades. I continue shooting Benelli shotguns for their simplicity, utter reliability and superior performance. Whether hunting near home or halfway across the world, that’s the stuff that matters.

HuntProof, the premier mobile waterfowl app, is an absolute game changer. Quickly and easily attribute each hunt or scouting report to include automatic weather and pinpoint mapping; summarize waterfowl harvest by season, goose and duck species; share with friends within your network; type a hunt narrative and add photos. Migrational predictor algorithms estimate bird activity and, based on past hunt data will use weather conditions and hunt history to even suggest which blind will likely be most productive!

Inukshuk Professional Dog Food Our beloved retrievers are high-performing athletes that live to recover downed birds regardless of conditions. That’s why Char Dawg is powered by Inukshuk. With up to 720 kcals/ cup, Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is the highest-energy, highest-quality dog food available. Highly digestible, calorie-dense formulas reduce meal size and waste. Loaded with essential omega fatty acids, Inuk-nuk keeps coats shining, joints moving, noses on point. Produced in New Brunswick, Canada, using only best-of-best ingredients, Inukshuk is sold directly to consumers. I’ll feed nothing but Inukshuk. It’s like rocket fuel. The proof is in Char Dawg’s performance.

Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks