I entered the office on my first day, nervous, but anxious to learn about this new endevour. Dr. Reikowski sat across from me at his desk, straightened his white lab coat around his shirt collar, and welcomed me to his practice. “We try to help people in how they perceive the world,” He stated. ” We find the best hearing device within their budget, and make adjustments from there for the life of the device.”
Even though, I had been in the medical field for 30 years, this was a new industry and had it’s own issues. I was looking forward to learning everything that I could about hearing aids.
“Not hearing aids. Hearing device,” he corrected me.
“What is the difference?” I asked him.
“It is what the word ‘aid’ communicates. It communicates a crutch, or that they require support because they are wearing an aid. Device communicates a tool in which one uses to enhance their lives, and literally defines an electronic instrument.”
A subtle, but important difference in wording. I sat back in my chair and absorbed the philosophy. He went on to explain that the practice is sitting with patients that are perceiving the world in a more challenged way. He pointed to a metaphor. If one looks at a photo of a cube drawn to appear three dimensional, one can assume the other two sides even though they cannot see them. In normal hearing we put clues together in the same way. When the hearing loss is more severe, they can only perceive a shadow of that cube. It becomes one dimensional, flat, four corners, and harder to see the three dimensional cube as it really is. They start to depend on their memory of what a cube is, and others to help them interpret what their strained senses are telling them. When we provide a hearing device, the shadow of the cube starts to turn and more corners begin to appear. The Audiologist doesn’t just make the hearing louder. A person hears in a range of frequencies, and with the technology available today, one can increase the hearing loss in those specific areas, much like the corners of that cube’s shadow. We work with the patient from that first fitting, and we tune the instrument until it is as close to that metaphor about the cube as possible.
It was a great start in grasping a concept that I had never thought about. We all see the world in different ways even if we are all perfect physical specimens. A blue sky to one that has never seen will not perceive it as beautiful, but can appreciate beautiful music even though the one that can see is board because it is not visually entertaining. To Dr. Reikowski and his staff, it was more about bringing families back together. They want the patients and the people that love them to again see the same sunrise. It was more about bringing those three dimensions back into all their lives.
Since that day, I have watched him enhance his balance program to assist physicians groups in testing vertigo issues. I have watched him research, and create a tinnitus program that is creating successes. It is more than about a name, because the name should point toward the results.