What our clients say about us

Pete Vink

Pete Vink’s career was spent working with some of New Zealand’s most troubled and hardened people, dedicating himself to helping others see that life can offer more than a path towards self destruction.
Recently, Pete decided to do something for himself for a change, and put aside his anxiety about the ageing process, taking the steps necessary to address his hearing loss and is now once again rocking out in his own way!
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Over the years, Pete has had numerous roles with the Ministry of Social Development. In the 80’s, he worked with gangs, trying to help them appreciate that life offers opportunities and choices beyond what they could see. Later, he worked with teenagers who would otherwise be destined for a life of violence and crime.

Today, Pete works with people coming out of the prison system and helping them integrate back into the community and find work. He has always found his vocation, which relies heavily on communication, both challenging and rewarding.

Over the last few years, Pete was increasingly finding it difficult to follow conversations, particularly in the presence of background noise. Working in an open-plan office was problematic.

“Many of my coworkers are female, who naturally have higher pitched voices… I was missing the start of what they were saying. It was particularly difficult when I did not have a visual line on the person who was speaking to me”, explains Pete.

At home Pete’s better half, Debbie, was becoming frustrated by his selective deafness, concerned that her husband was no longer tuned in to her.

Like many people in her situation, Debbie had not made the connection between Pete’s rudeness and the physical limitations being caused by his hearing loss. Pete, however, had good reason to suspect that his hearing was not what it used to be.

“There is a long history of hearing loss in my family. I remember my grandfather being profoundly deaf, my parents are both clients of the House of Hearing and even my younger brother is affected by hearing loss.” Despite this awareness, Pete waited many years before taking the steps to addressing his hearing loss. He recalls with good humour.

“While I stay fit through regular sessions in the gym, the reality of getting older has been a bitter pill. Over the years, my crop of hair has experienced the effects of drought, I wear glasses and hearing loss was just another unwelcome reminder of the passing years.”

Finally one day Pete picked up the phone after seeing a newspaper advertisement promoting free hearing tests at House of Hearing. Following this, Pete was given the opportunity to trial a few different hearing aids before finding that he received the greatest benefit from a pair of Siemens Pure hearing aids. The difference he has noticed has been remarkable.

“It is so much easier to follow conversations… I no longer drive down a straight road with the indicator on, because I was unable hear it… the sound is a lot crisper when I’m pottering around on the guitar …and I really notice the difference when listening to the radio in the car. It is just so much duller without my hearing aids.”

But are there sounds of the world that he could do without? “There are times in the morning when I would prefer that the birds chirping outside the window would shut up”, he laughs.

Ass you may have guessed from his ‘expertise’ on the guitar, Pete is a fan of 70’s rock – including greats such as the eagles, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd. Pete flew to the Gold Coast to meet up with a son who had shouted him tickets to see Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame perform The Wall Tour.

“The concert was amazing! And I was no doubt better off being able to hear everything clearly with the assistance of my new hearing aids,” Peter said.

Interestingly, despite the fact that so few people actually notice that Pete is wearing hearing aids, he is often the first to bring them up amongst peers who he recognises are struggling with hearing loss.

“It is amazing how many people my age are held back by a sense of pride, or perceived embarrassment that will come with wearing hearing aids. I often take on the role of a hearing evangelist, telling people about my experience and the difference they have made to my life. As was first explained to me by the team at House of Hearing, I also help people understand that the longer they leave it, the worse off they will be – the old saying of, use it or lose it, applies to hearing.”

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