Wally Potts caring for hearing in Porirua
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.