Something new in mobile hearing service

Triton Hearing managing director James Whittaker, left, with former bus driver Peter Luey.

A mobile hearing clinic that is pure vintage on the outside, but state of the art inside made its debut in Orewa last month.

Triton Hearing was searching for a vehicle it could use to introduce a mobile hearing service and found the 1949 Bedford bus languishing in a garden in Whangarei, where it was up on blocks and being used as a bach.

Triton’s managing director James Whittaker says it was a little rough and not able to be driven, yet it was exactly what he’d been looking for.

“The average age of our clients is 72, so a vintage vehicle like this really resonates with them,” he says. “Also, we work in a stigma industry – no-one wants to talk about their hearing difficulties – and we wanted a bus with character so it would be a real ice-breaker.”

The company repaired and boosted the engine of the bus, which was named Penelope. The interior was converted into a modern hearing clinic that provides a full diagnostic service, including issuing hearing aids, via a live electronic video link with an audiologist.

A trained hearing nurse provides the hands for the audiologist, operating equipment such as the otoscope, which looks down the patient’s ear canal. The test results are read directly by the audiologist as they come through.

The bus was launched last November and driven to Orewa for its debut as part of Triton Orewa’s Innovation Open Day last month.

While there, it attracted a lot of attention – particularly from Peter Luey who just happened to be passing by. Peter drove Penelope back in the day when she was Birkenhead Library’s mobile bus, so it was a happy reunion.

The hearing service is now on the road, and Penelope is available to visit local retirement villages, sports clubs or community organisations.

Info, or to arrange a visit, phone Lucy Rei 0800 454 542.


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