Wally Potts car­ing for hear­ing in Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FALLON

When it comes to help­ing peo­ple hear, Wally Potts is all ears.

The au­di­ol­o­gist has spent 33 years car­ing for the hear­ing of Porirua peo­ple and he reck­ons it’s what’s be­tween the ears that counts.

‘‘I don’t see peo­ple as a pair of ears, I lis­ten to them,’’ he said.

The fa­ther of four said it was a beau­ti­ful shock to re­ceive a 50th medal from Porirua City Coun­cil last year in recog­ni­tion of his work.

He said the medal came a close sec­ond to an award he re­ceived from the deaf com­mu­nity in 2013.

‘‘It was a real zizz to be recog­nised by that com­mu­nity. That meant a great deal to me.’’

Potts said it was an hon­our to be recog­nised by the peo­ple he most wanted to help, but isn’t sure why he de­served it.

‘‘Maybe I went out of my way, maybe I did more.’’

He said what might have set him apart was his will­ing­ness to treat peo­ple no mat­ter who they were or where they lived.

‘‘I’ve ac­cepted any­one and I’ll go to great lengths to see any­one.

‘‘I be­lieve ev­ery­one should be helped, from the just born to the nearly dead.’’

He has spent 20 years as chair­man of the Porirua Ear Van So­ci­ety, a free ser­vice funded by Re­gional Public Health.

‘‘The van goes around and tries to catch hear­ing loss in kids early.’’

It is chil­dren’s hear­ing that par­tic­u­larly con­cerns Potts, be­cause it so of­ten goes un­de­tected.

‘‘We learn most in the first four years of life. If kids can’t hear, the brain doesn’t de­velop and it can de­lay learn­ing.

‘‘A third of kids in any class­room have a mid­dle ear prob­lem when you test them.’’

Potts met his wife, also an au­di­ol­o­gist, on a train­ing course in Aus­tralia and they worked to­gether for 25 years.

When he isn’t help­ing peo­ple hear Potts can be found play­ing bad­minton or do­ing home ren­o­va­tions, but his real love is hunt­ing.

It doesn’t beat treat­ing Porirua peo­ple though and he’s now treat­ing the third gen­er­a­tion of pa­tients.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally get to change peo­ple’s lives. That’s pretty neat.’’

Au­di­ol­o­gist Wally Potts says it’s whats be­tween the ears that counts.

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