Note: This is Part 3 of a three-part series on Tri-City Audiology. The practice is jointly owned by David McBride, M.S. FAAA, Allen Rohe, Au. D., FAAA, and Kay Kochman, Au.D., FAAA with locations in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, Arizona.
You might say that Allen Rohe, Au.D, FAAA, goes to the ends of the earth – literally – to find the best treatment available for his patients.
“I trained with a Polish neuroscientist, who pretty much invented the tinnitus retraining therapy protocol,” he said. “After I trained with him, I found myself traveling around the country to meet with different practitioners who are the best in their field so I could offer top-notch treatment to my patients in Tempe.”
As a result, Tempe's Tri-City Audiology has a reputation for being the place to go for individuals suffering with tinnitus and hyperacusis. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no external source, most commonly ringing, humming or buzzing noises. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, tinnitus is the number one disability for military veterans requesting assistance in 2012. Hyperacusis occurs when moderately loud sounds appear very loud.
“My tinnitus and hyperacusis patients are desperate when they come in,” Dr. Rohe said. “There’s no cure for the problem. I see the typical tinnitus patient an average of 1-2 years. It’s extremely challenging to sit down with them and be able to give them some level of reassurance that we’ll get them to a better place in life. When we finally climb that hill and head down the other side, you can see the look on their faces. Changes are starting to happen and they’re getting their lives back.”
Dr. Rohe also does a lot of work with musicians, another population which suffers from tinnitus and hyperacusis. He runs a musicians clinic and works with professional musicians who tour the country. His high profile clients include personnel from CeLo Green’s group and sound engineers for Sammy Hager and Bob Dylan.
“The music industry damages their ears,” Dr. Rohe explained. “Many times the noise exposure they’re surrounded by ruins their ability to continue in the industry.”
And, if Dr. Rohe doesn’t think he can help a patient, he sends them to someone who can. His philosophy on patient care is to get away from the text book by sitting down with each patient, looking at their unique needs, and recommending the best plan of action– even if that means referring them to someone with more expertise.
Partnering with other professionals, such as audiologists at the Cleveland Clinic who specialize in tinnitus with severe distortion or an audiology group in New York City which specializes in the psychological aspects of tinnitus, are an example of how Tri-City Audiology takes patient care to the next level.
“Working with my tinnitus patients has become my passion. It’s much more difficult to deliver results to this population so we have to embrace the challenge,” he said. “We can’t be all things to every patient. We must be willing to give the highest level of care no matter where it comes from.”
Dr. Rohe said he’s always looking for ways to raise public awareness and money for research. In addition to the tinnitus foundation he runs with two other partners – a musician and a music producer -- he also appears on radio shows and teaches a tinnitus class to second year doctor of audiology students at a local university.
“Hearing is just so essential to how we enjoy life,” he said. “Friends, music, laughter – the hearing mechanism just brings in so much information. We want to help people reconnect. For us, we see it as a journey with our patients. We’re not just dispensing hearing aids, we’re trying to become part of their lives and take care of their needs for the long-term.”