As a doctoral student at the University of Utah, I was able to learn firsthand from a great man and well-versed audiologist on how to successfully take care of people’s well-being through treatment of their hearing and communication difficulties. Harold Pergler was always the go-to source for all things hearing and hearing aid related in South Davis County for over four decades. Mr. Pergler began working as an audiologist after receiving both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from BYU in communication sciences and disorders. He worked directly with an ENT group in Bountiful until the turn of the century when he began his own private practice: Bountiful Hearing Center, which was located at 425 S. Medical Drive, Suite 202. The building is no longer there, but it was directly east of the Lakeview Hospital, and his office boasted one of the best views of Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake.
I first met Harold Pergler in 2004. My older brother had just started his mandatory fourth year audiology internship through. The University of Louisville’s Medical School and was studying under Harold at Bountiful Hearing Center for ten months. I participated in a Bountiful Hearing Center open house to the public by demonstrating how the various equipment and machines were used in Harold’s office to care for his patients’ technology at their every visit.
After spending the day with him, I could see why so many people were drawn to him and why they trusted him with their hearing and aural care. Upon my acceptance to the doctoral program at the University of Utah in 2007, I knew that school would teach me about the latest in medical and technological advancements, but I also knew the need for an even more important education in compassion and care. I felt that Harold at Bountiful Hearing Center would be perfect for this type of schooling. I was lucky to work directly with Harold for the next 3.5 years as his pupil and he, being my mentor.
While I drank in an ocean full of knowledge from observing his care and services, the following are the three principles I would consider to be the gold standard practices of Harold Pergler:
1. Upon entering his office and waiting room, there was a large stencil on his wall which read, “Nobody Cares How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care.” Harold really was a listener. It is rare, especially for doctors, to not have a pre-loaded answer to questions we think our patients will ask. However, Harold was a question-asker. He would always ask additional questions so that both the patient and he were on the same page at the end of the appointment. Harold taught me that assuming you know what’s wrong makes you wrong: the patient will tell you when you’re right. In this, I learned that the exact same problem can and will affect two patients completely differently. Once they know you understand their problem, they will have confidence in you fixing the problem.
2. Harold wore a stainless-steel timepiece on his wrist from Denmark made by a company called Skagen, but he never looked at it. Time didn’t matter to Harold, because the patient in front of him held his attention until they were satisfied. Almost to a fault, his schedule for the day was just a suggestion. Each patient deserved his time to the extreme of him missing lunches most days, and he was usually the one locking up after the staff had long since left after 5:30 p.m. As his staff, we did our best to keep him “on time,” and we failed most days. However, his patients didn’t mind being patient because they knew they were going to get the same fantastic appointment and treatment that the last guy just received. Time is best spent serving others, no matter the cost of time.
3. Every morning, our staff would open each workday with a prayer. In a small, little corner of his office behind a fireproof curtain, away from the front office and just out of ears reach of the waiting room full of patients, we would offer thanks and ask for blessings on the day we were about to labor through. Harold and I were/are religious and spiritual people, but (in the 3.5 years I worked for him) most of the staff he hired was not. So, Harold and I would take turns; Monday, Wednesday, Friday he would pray, and I would take Tuesdays and Thursdays. To see my mentor being so vulnerable in offering up his sincerest desires to God for not only his business but also for us who worked for him really revealed the love and humility of this man. For me to be a part of that small little work family offering a morning prayer was endearing and special. It helped me realize that Harold knew who he was and his understanding of WHO really ran his business.
I cherished my time at Bountiful Hearing Center and will forever appreciate Harold as a boss, a mentor, and a friend. Since his recent retirement, I have enjoyed treating and caring for many of his patients in my own office right next door to the original Bountiful Hearing Center site, which is no longer standing on Medical Drive.
In starting my own clinic, the policies and procedures and the standard of care were some of the easiest and most natural steps in developing a successful business model. I simply have done my best to replicate everything that Harold Pergler taught and what I observed of him with my time I had at Bountiful Hearing Center.