Our Professional Staff

Hearing Specialists You Can Trust 

Our team of expert hearing specialists is dedicated to bringing top-quality care to every single one of our patients. When you want to discuss your hearing health with an audiologist who will really listen, we’re here for you. When you need to bring your aging loved ones in for hearing aids, we’re here for you. When you have a young child that needs a hearing test, we’re here for you. With a combination of empathy and expertise, SoundGate can handle your hearing needs from first steps to golden years. 

Meet The SoundGate Hearing Team

Sarah Binfet : Audiologist

Sarah Binfet


Welcome! I am Dr. Sarah Binfet and I have been a Doctor of Audiology since 2006. I proudly served Veterans at the Minneapolis VA for nearly 9 years. I established Blaine Hearing Center in 2013 in conjunction with my husband's optometric practice. It has been a wonderful partnership and enjoyable to see each other at work! In 2015, I had the opportunity to grow my practice when I purchased SoundGate Hearing from my mentor, Dr. Wendy Davis. I genuinely love what I do and feel that helping people hear is essential to their quality of life.

I believe in creating a welcoming and supportive environment in which the patient and their families can be educated on their hearing loss, hearing aid options, and how to have the best success with their hearing aids. At SoundGate, we deeply care about our patients and their outcomes. We want everyone to genuinely enjoy their hearing aids and the benefits they bring.

I am committed to offering my patients the most up to date digital hearing aid technology, which is why I carry a full line of manufacturers. There is no one right hearing aid for everyone. It is my job to help my patients navigate the complex works of hearing aids and decide on which products best meet their needs, goals and budget. I have discovered the benefit of giving patients the opportunity to trial hearing aids out of the office. A hearing aid trial is most helpful in navigating the complex journey of better hearing.

A Minnesotan through and through, I was raised in Eden Prairie, MN, received my undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas and my Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Minnesota. When not at work, you will find me cooking, hitting up the newest restaurants and fitting in as much yoga as possible. During the weekend, you will find my husband Rodney and me with our three kids, Evelyn, Jake and Sam, loving the outdoors at our family cabin on Leech Lake.

I look forward to meeting you.

Kara Balken : Audiologist

Kara Balken


I am Dr. Kara Balken and I joined the SoundGate team in June of 2019 after graduating from the University of South Dakota with my doctorate in audiology. I am originally from SW Minnesota (Montevideo, MN), where my parents still live. Growing up in a small town made me appreciate smaller communities and the people who live there, so I especially enjoy working out in our Buffalo and Monticello locations.

I was excited to find a small private practice with the same patient-centered care objectives that I was interested in and really enjoy being part of the SoundGate Hearing team. I have a passion for helping people understand their hearing loss and the real-life impact it has on communication. At SoundGate, we offer a full line of manufacturers, so patients can find the right hearing aid for them. I enjoy working with technology and enjoy the ever-changing world of hearing aids as new hearing solutions are developed every year.

In my free-time, I enjoy testing out new restaurants in the twin-cities area, relaxing at home, finding new ways to be active outdoors, and traveling. In the summer I spend virtually every weekend at my family lake-home and cannot wait to get back each year.

Hannah McHone : Business Administrator

Hannah McHone

Business Administrator

Hannah joined SoundGate in August of 2016 after graduating from Clarkson College in Omaha, NE, with a degree in Health Information. Hannah believes in the importance of good quality care and she enjoys playing her part behind the scenes to help make that possible. She wants every patient to walk out more comfortable and satisfied than when they came in.

She grew up in Blaine, MN, and is happy to be back in the twin cities again. When she’s not at work, she likes to spend time with her nieces and nephews, keeping up her “favorite aunt” persona.

Joel Skoog : Business Support Manager

Joel Skoog

Business Support Manager

Joel has worked in the hearing industry since 1995. He has worked at SoundGate Hearing since 2013. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a degree in Communications. He has substantial experience with both the technical and business sides of the industry. He understands the fundamental need to provide strong support for our patients.

Joel spends his free time away from the office with his active family. He enjoys a wide variety of activities including travel, hiking, camping and fishing. He is a passionate hockey and soccer parent and fan.