Home  > 1st cliniician  



My 1st Cochlear Clinician,  Mobile, AL


6976 words


The following is a memoir of my cochlear treatment experience and my personal evaluation of this healthcare provider based on emails, medical records, witness, and my journal documentation.


This clinician persuaded me to get a cochlear implant. She herded me through ten dreadful, abusive, Frankenstein-ish adjustments over nine months with screeches,  lies, and snake oil statements. She proved incapable of achieving even marginal within-parameters speech intelligibility. In the end, all she provided was the worst medical horror I ever experienced.


By March 2020, my hearing had declined past my 10 years of hearing aids. I was referred to this clinician for evaluation for a cochlea implant. She declared me a candidate. My September surgery to implant my right ear was a breeze; no shaved hair, no pain, no bandages, no problems.

Of the three cochlear implant companies—Cochlear Americas, Med-El, and Advanced Bionics, I had been steered into getting a Cochlear Americas Nucleus 7 cochlear implant (called CI) device.This was what the surgeon was most accustomed to implanting and he stated that there was basically no difference between the three.

Audiologist/clinician Dr. Wiley May Rowbartz was an entry level teacher at the Speech and Hearing Department at Alabama Southern College in Mobile, Alabama, a late middle-aged, tall, very thin woman with an air of authoritarian arrogance, claiming 20 years experience in cochlear rehabilitation.

She was going to "help me with my music" hearing restoration. She said she had close relatives who played classical musical instruments and thus claimed much more musical knowledge than she actually possessed. At first she seemed to think it was "helpful" that I had been a lifelong musician and a recent 20 year veteran of digital audio recording engineering with over 40,000 hours of hearing, manipulating, and creating all kinds of sound designs and electronic music. I assumed that, as an audiologist, she would know a lot about sound and audio manipulations. She didn't. Her sound and audio knowledge was so shallow and limited that she frequently made up false statements about what I said I was hearing to cover for it. She became progressively more demeaning and abusive, including the narrative she wrote in her Medical Records (MR) that other audiologists might see. I did not get to read those until September 2021, three months after we parted in mutual anger following her sneaky final maltreatment in June 2021. The records revealed to me errors, misstatements, lies, coverups, and sinister attitudes.

September

At this time, I knew a lot about sound manipulation from audio engineering, but very little about ear anatomy, hearing aids, and audiology. I knew nothing about cochlear implants except what I had recently read in company product literature and the Internet. So I knew that the damaged biological cochlea gets bypassed by a audio device that sends electrical signals to the brain which interprets them as sound and speech.

First Hearing

Dr. Rowbartz, after explaining the pieces of this new technology, put the sound processor device to my head and turned it on, activateing it. I heard  and understand her speech immediately. I also heard some jangling, some bubbling sounds like a tea kettle coming to a boil, and some whistles and hisses. She explained that these sounds were my brain perceiving the sound processor for the first time. I suggested that she turn down the volume of the whistle and hiss range and I'd be fine. She dismissed me and simply said those would soon fade away and did nothing.

She turned to her computer and said "Oh, you mow have 8000 frequencies you can access." She did some common  high range things for me to hear like rubbing her hands on clothing fabric, running a water faucet, and clattering pens on her desktop.

Then came the setting of what she called T-levels and C-levels (Threshold soft and Comfortably loud). When she had set those, she "swept the frequencies" and had me say when the volumes of each were equal. That was easy for me because I was used to working with small decibel changes. She said she was "astounded" how precise I could be. She complemented me on my use of audio terminology (decibels) as most people could not even say such words. Meanwhile, she often belittled me in her Medical Record (MR), writing that she often "counseled me" that a CI could not be adjusted in decibels. Yet she never mentioned or explained the term "current units" for her jargon measurement of electrical signal intensity for loudness. Consequently, I went on saying "decibel" and watching her get close to the right setting.

My homework was to listen to household sounds, play my piano, and the like. She gave me a list of words to practice listening to. At home, I discovered she had turned the middle and upper range whistles and hisses A LOT louder. She had not told me what she wrote in the Medical Record (MR)— disabled electrodes #1-5 due to "no loudness growth." This higher frequency speech distorting noise would remain a damnable problem for the duration of our ill-fated relationship.

I emailed the clinician and reported these. She emailed back: "you only think the high range is loud because you never heard those frequencies before. The program is not yet set to optimum. Practice listening." I though: how does a highly trained professional listener practice listening? Ihe processor sound was way out of balance. I was reading my first of several snake oil slogans. Ms. Rowbartz said “my brain would learn to hear words through the noise.” I had trouble believing that, but I worked at it very hard. Over time, as I learned that my sound processor and my recording software had many similarities. I realized the sound processor had some really wretched programming and this programmer couldn't adjust her own radio.

But I kept hoping she would get it back to where it was when she first activated it. Defensively, I began keeping a journal and searching the Internet for cochlear knowledge. It proved hard to find.

October

At my session, she tested my hearing and reported that I still had some (residual) hearing in my right ear. The MR had no mention of that. She told me  to consider an acoustical component, but I really had no clue of what she said or was talking about at that time and she, as usual, did not adequately explain much. But she did turn off two additional electrodes #6-7 for no loudness growth, the MR read. But the range from 2k-8k Hz (Hz = Hertz = frequency) was still louder than hell, badly distorted and overshadowed any speech.

Still, I went home and practiced listening to my wife read the list of prescribed words. In order to practice 6 or more hours daily, I typed those words into a text to speech software that allowed any of several computer voices to read them aloud. I had the finest pro-audio monitor speakers for listening. Rowbartz said that the loud highs would fade into the background as my brain was re-trained. They never did! Now in 20 years of audio engineering, I never heard a bad sound just "fade into the background" by itself. She obstinately imposed her agenda and didn't listen to me.

From my first session, she told me to use my little CR310 remote control unit to gradually increase the sound volume to its loudest. So I was supposed to go from louder than hell to even MUCH LOUDER. I should have said: look doctor, this thing is already way the hell to goddamn loud! But I didn't. I remained polite and acted compliant.

In the MR, Rowbartz wrote: "Mr. Rothlisberger remained on volume level 3 as he found it intolerable to move forward." I tried over and over to convey to her about how loud that range was. she just dismissed me.

As an experienced audio engineer, I could mentally separate the speaking voice from the upper range distorted racket and tell that the voices sounded quite close to normal. But, of course, I could not maintain that for long periods, no one can, and it is no trainable. Soon, the mix would garble and distort, turning words into unintelligible speech. The processor was supposedly "very different from 'my little sound editor.'" I was not yet aware that it was merely a digital audio device subject to the same laws of physics as any other digital audio device. I was also hearing horrid voice distortions that I hadn't heard in even my own radically experimental sound design work. So there was much I did not yet recognize.

I continued researching ear anatomy, brain hearing, and implant technology. I felt like I had to learn these things so I could help her help me; or to prevent her from brain damaging me.

I carefully wrote and edited my symptom descriptions but ultimately learned she could not read and diagnose. As I learned only many months later from the MR, Rowbartz merely copy/pasted several of these, twisting some, lying about others, and diagnosed absolutely nothing all that time.

November

By this session, I was starting to hear and understand words. Speech sounded like three people speaking in rhythmic unison. I heard what sounded like an electronically amplified stage whisper voice and a robotic mechanical voice in addition to a subdued normal voice.

Clinician Rowbartz tested my hearing and said that my ear was now deaf. So all the sound was through the processor. That result is not mentioned in the MR. She would later invent her own lie about when my residual hearing faded out.

Ms. Rowbartz raised my upper range yet louder. I endured. I figured there would be some kind of minor balance adjustments and I’d be done.

Later at home, I checked my right ear with a hearing aid and heard no sound. While she was "going to help me with my music," it felt like she  dragged it to hell and half my soul with it.

During the week, my wife read to me from 5 or 6 feet away and I could understand her even though there was still some extraneous noise  through the processor. It was never that good again. I sort of assumed they would fade eventually. But they never showed signs of doing so. With Rowbartz, adjustments were never progressive.They were always like random guesses. She just kept saying the brain this and the brain that and it takes a long time. My instincts told me that she didn't know what she claimed she knew. Her knowledge of audio was clearly shallow and limited. I was not yet ready to think she was stupid or sinister. But…?

Processor Malfunctions, December Emergency!
Rowbartz didn't know what to do!

Then in early December, my processor malfunctioned. One morning,  for no apparent reason, the whole range was loud—atomically LOUD! I couldn't stand it. I pressed buttons, checked my computer, checked the handbooks and more. Nothing changed. It remained horribly, painfully loud while I panicked. I thought this was an emergency deserving of an immediate fix or a replacement processor. I emailed Rowbartz describing in detail, comparisons and analogies the sounds, such as speech sounds like power saws cutting and grinding metal; the TV, 12 feet away, seemed to be continually exploding in my ear.

My wife called Cochlear Americas to speak with one of their tech people. "Ask your clinician," they said. I was now unimpressed with Cochlear Americas.

This doctor Rowbartz responded to my email with this silly statement: "I appreciate the detail and thought you put into your descriptions. But I also want to point out how many more frequencies you have." (Eye roll.)

"I'll consult the company before our January session, I have reviewed your maps and will ask the company to review them also," she wrote.

I thought, WHAT? You've got 20 years experience on these and you don't know what to do? And what are your maps going to tell you if this processor just jumped its volume controls? What a perceptive quack you turned out to be!

Her credibility was now gone for me. I thought about looking for another audiologist who could program my processor. But I didn't know where to start looking. I didn't know if I was "allowed" to change doctors mid-stream. I didn't know if another audiologist would be any better. I also had yet no idea that so many clinicians couldn't adjust their own radios, much less a sound processor.

I felt stuck. She seemed out of her depth and just couldn't seem to make anything better. Yet she kept saying how my brain should adapt to these changes. I was horribly depressed. I could hear that the processor would work if she would get the unbalanced frequencies and volumes under control. Yet this clinician seemed to be too incompetent to know how to do that. She never gave me qualitative or quantitative information, or programming charts (called MAPs). One web source had a help page with a paragraph saying "Always  ask the audiologist for printouts of your program settings."

Always ask the audiologist for printouts of your program settings. Better yet, ask them to print to pdf format and send you the file by email.  If nothing else, you can use them for wrapping paper. Just one step above that, and they are handy reminders of what you have in each program slot.  And if you read them in more detail, you may find subtle differences that you can try to correlate to the way the programs sound.  Finally, you may be able to use that knowledge to come up with things to try the next time you visit the audiologist.


Knowing what I know in 2023, I'd say sit and wait for a printed copy! Don't leave without one!

This clownician always slithered away from providing any except only one time. I wish I had copies of all the MAPs she created. With them, I could see what I heard and what she actually did to me. I did not learn until much later that maps are stored in the processor and most can be accessed by anyone with Custom Sound software.

Before our mid-January session, I discovered, through extremely careful listening, that the "amplified stage whisper," I had been hearing, was actually consonants and sibilants that were excessively loud. A MAP of program details might have helped me see that. But Rowbartz never made any available to me. A check of my audio engineering materials indicated that the frequencies of consonants were in the 2000 to 4000 frequency (2k-4k Hz) range. So clearly that range was way too loud and was causing the distortion. I emailed Dr. Rowbartz:

1. Consonants and sibilants are too loud.
I don’t know how you fix that on your audiology equipment, but..There is also reverberation of a half second which runs into each next syllable, further distorting intelligibility.
2. The pungent, cutting, penetrating, nasal, sawtooth wave, voice timber, color, quality is very treble-ly, LOUD, and awful.  (Rowbartz stated that i have a lot of of new high frequencies and that's what makes it sound treble-ly.That was stupid qua-jargon! The abundant loud high frequencies affected the sound of voices. But I was still several months away from recognizing that was the case with the processor. But a cochlear audiologist SHOULD know this.)
3. I hear REVERB. WHY is there reverb on a speech processor????? (Much later, I rediscovered that severe high frequencies with the harsh zone frequencies can cause a hollow echoic sound, a sort of fake reverb. Rowbartz never addressed that.
4. The treble/bass balance SUCKS! (I included many comparative analogies which she copy/pasted into her MR but did nothing about diagnosis-wise.)

She wrote back:

I appreciate your excellent descriptions, analogies, and thought you have put into this. I agree we need more low frequencies, but I also want to point out that you now actually HAVE access to that frequency range of 1500-8000 Hz and at very audible levels, which is where you are getting the sensation of too much treble, reverberation, and hissing. We can certainly make adjustments to improve your speech and sound perceptions. I have also disabled 7 electrodes that typically stimulate that region of the cochlea. I am hesitant to disable more. Your sound perception has always been incredible, despite your steeply sloping high frequency hearing loss.

All she really had to do was turn the damn volume DOWN, not disable. But despite the disabling, the middle range harsh area was still much louder than tolerable. Yes, louder than hell! I was falling into depression and despair due to this ignorant and abusive bungle bunny. Maybe she was actually trying to damage me.

Early January

After a nearly silent and miserable holiday season, my appointment finally arrived. First she put  me in a booth and said she would play recordings of voices reciting words. I was to repeat the words as I heard them. After 15 minutes, I had heard nothing. Then she announced that the processor was working perfectly, that my ear changed that it went deaf on that December date and that was what caused the sound processor to get loud.

I didn't call her a liar. But I did catch the logical fallacy of how does an ear going deaf cause a hearing device to jump volume? My ear had gone deaf earlier before November. She was lying and covering something up, like maybe this processor was defective. But I was trying to get my processor fixed, not start a violent war. But the nightmare continued.
Yet, the following May, she arranged for Cochlear Americas to send me a replacement, refurbished, not mew, processor just prior to my surprise final session. More about that later.

Meanwhile, she now lowered the amplitude, but not enough. The sibilants and consonants were still sizzling and crackling like an electrical thunder storm. And there was a booming resonance like a reverberating echo chamber. I complained that the processor still sounded like a squawking parrot, a ten dollar prize I won at a raffle. She could not read the symptoms of a harsh band of frequencies that was too loud, something every recording engineer could identify, EQ, and fix. She simply lied to me and explained that this is specific to frequencies I've not heard before and my brain was perceiving them as harsh. From that "explanation," I began to seriously think she was lying and deliberately trying to frustrate me. But she copy/pasted in the MR that "Mr Rothlisberger said his processor squawks like a parrot and the treble/bass balance SUCKS!" Well, she wrote that one correctly. But she wrote nothing about diagnosing and fixing.

She created two programs both of which I couldn't really hear well in her office but did later at home.

Program 1  a softer version of the previous loud one  except that the crackling consonants and sizzling sibilants were extraordinarily loud and squawky. But I could now at least tell they were  words.

Program 2 was allegedly created, according to the MR, "at the suggestion of Cochlear Americas, where she turned on the higher electrodes." words were soft but clear. But the very high range had a piercingly loud, painful "laser beam" frequency which made this setting intolerable for more than a few minutes. It sounded like she had turned down the lower ranges but turned up the highest frequencies as loud as possinble. Knowing what I knew in 2022, I'd like to see a MAP of this setting. But MAPs were conspicuously absent from the package of Medical Records from Alabama Southern College Hearing Department.

From January to May my nightmare continued as her randomized, horridly sounding adjustments went on every few weeks as I requested something be done about each previous disaster.

Late January

For my late January session, I prepared a flash drive with three computer voices, female, male, and high male reading text.

The specific purpose was to provide a consistent spoken voice volume while the clinician (i.e. always Rowbartz in the MR) lowered the volume of the harsh 2k-4k Hz range. I  had been trying to get her to  speak at a consistent volume while adjusting until I could hear the crackling consonants and sizzling sibilants reach optimum setting. But she never did that. I had emailed her the purpose of the flash drive and she wrote it was "a great idea."

Now, she missed the point or, I think, refused to acknowledge it. Instead, she criticized the MP3 samples as  computer voices that were too fast, etc. Frankly, I could have used synthesized drum solos for the same purpose and probably should have. She was very snippy. I was now ready to distrust her motives.

Rowbartz wrote this misleading statement (lie?) in the MR: "Mr. Rothlisberger was able to understand the computer recordings perfectly until the December [malfunction] date. Mr. Rothlisberger was counseled that the change in perception was likely due to the total loss of his residual hearing." This was a continued LIE and a repeated COVER-UP of the December 2020 processor malfunction when the unit became extraordinarily loud overnight. My residual hearing was lost BEFORE November 2020. Furthermore, these MP3 spoken word recordings were not created until a week before this late January session! This doctor lied and appears to have illegally falsified her Medical Record! I should have walked away from her BEFORE this appointment. But I didn't. But, as I later learned, there were very limited places to go in that geographical region.

In the MR, Rowbartz wrote that Mr. Rothlisberger reports extremely loud consonants and sibilants that overpower any frequencies below or above. He was counseled, in  that “he is continuing to hear sounds that are specific to frequencies that he was never able to hear before he was implanted” (LIE). However, Dr. Rowbartz was unable or unwilling to acknowledge that symptom not as a brain issue but as a programming issue and lower the volume of the appropriate frequencies.

I  was angry, but still unwilling to be profoundly rude and insulting to Ms.Rowbartz. So I acquiesced to her push toward her new Frankenstein-ish experimental Frequency Allocations Tables (FAT), hoping that MAYBE it would work out. She went on and on about how these would cut off the "problematic" high frequencies' and I just went along with it worrying about what to do next.

By late evening at home, I already sensed this was the WORST adjustment Ms. Rowbartz had ever forced on me. Taking off the processor after a long period left a roaring hum that remained for many hours. With Rowbartz "demanding" 6-8 weeks of "adaptation," I was led  to wonder if she was deliberately attempting to give me brain damage in a form of tinnitus.


February

In early February, I emailed Dr. Rowbartz to say:

Your Allocation Tables do not work. Here is a description of results of your  latest programming.

As little as 5 minutes after attaching processor, .I hear a thick, ambient, silent oppressive sound cloud that suppresses the voices.The impacted speech then makes short stabs of echoes and feedback which violently remind me how loud loud can be. Except for the violently amplification  on crackling consonant and sizzling sibilant frequencies, the previous setting was so much better!

You said they were loud because they were frequencies I hadn’t heard before. I say they were loud because the steep resonance on the low pass filter blasted the hell out of them!

MEANWHILE, at the end of a long day removing the processor, I heard a  hum/roar that DID NOT go away until next morning. On a later day, it remained all night and most of the next day. I won’t  teach my brain a form of tinnitus just to meet your 8 week demand. I will leave the processor off some days until our next session.

This woman was going to "help me with my music." Yet, she could not even lower the loudness of marsh middle and high frequencies to get them out of the way of speech and acted determined to undermine my guidance. I had seen only one MAP image that was far from self-explanatory. But screen shot showed a 22 channel graphic equalizer with the top seven channels disabled.


She wrote back:

We could add back those frequencies at the next appointment. I changed the rate of stimulus as well (OMG!), which put a greater emphasis on lower frequencies, which may be why your household sounds are perceived as louder.  (So...messing up TWO things at once.) When adjusting levels, I can only make adjustments based on your feedback in studio. We can certainly return to previous settings and work from there.

Since September, her adjustments had been so far out of the ball park (outside of the appropriate parameters) she could not even find the town the ball park was in! Now, perhaps, at last, we might get near the stadium district!

Later February

Clinician Ms. Rowbartz reset the CI program to a previous January settings supposedly using all frequencies, but lowered “problem  volumes” and lowered overall loudness. I could hear and understand words at last, but only close up. Consonants and sibilants were a little better for the first time in months. Rowbartz STILL had not figured out that these loud consonants and sibilants are a symptom of a loud harsh register (2k-4k Hz) and thus hadn't lowered the volume accordingly no matter how many times I told her.

There was a high echo to voices caused by a volume boost in an upper frequency electrode. Rowbartz described this as a "sensation of echo" and "counseled" me that it is normal and will fade away (snake oil slogan). Then she slithered over to sweeping C-levels as a distracting diversion until we ran out of appointment time.

Within 48 hours of hearing it, I confirmed that it was a specific pitch/frequency at the edge of a harsh frequency band. I was getting upset with her limited knowledge and arrogant, authoritarian cover-ups. The prominent “squeaky hoot” whistle-hiss from the echo occurred louder than speech on every noise and syllable. It would remain for all the rest of the the remaining months of sessions with Rowbartz not resolving it. 

In the MR, Rowbartz wrote:  "it should be noted that throughout today's appointment, Mr. Rothlisberger continually referred to the loss of his residual hearing as 'the explosion' and he asked if his processor was  defective multiple times." This is Wiley Rowbartz' MOST PROFOUND LIE in the entire relationship that she continued to use in her desperate quest to cover up facts and statements. This was now evidence to me that Rowbartz had been pleasantly saying some things in her office while writing different derogatory things in her Medical Record.

Since her latest adjustment, overall effect of hearing speech just sounded like people quacking on a bad speaker phone.

My brain was not interpreting these distortions. The processor is like a miniature PA system. The microphones “hear” acoustic sound and transform it through the processor. So if I hear a whistling hiss, that means the processor is amplifying the signal it sends up my auditory nerve.

SO…. I should look for the solutions in the PROCESSOR programming, instead of accepting Rowbartz' snake oil shamanism about my brain "interpreting those frequencies as harsh." which is just snake oil talk covering up her shallow knowledge and sucky programming.

My nights were filled with misery from constant anxiety about cochlear adjustment situations. My hearing was so messed up from days of “screech and scratch,” I had  trouble focusing on my wife’s voice even from a foot away where my left ear could  help hear. I could not shake the feeling that the sound processor was defective and that it was being covered up.


Early April

As noted before, Rowbartz seemed to enjoy creating silly, even stupid statements she attributed to me, such as this one in the MR: “Mr. Rothlisberger expressed a desire to reduce mid pitches by 40 dB  and he requested several low or high pass filters." She goes on: "The clinician (i.e. Rowbartz) and Mr. Rothlisberger had a long discussion regarding tonotopic organization of the cochlear and electrode placement, which would affect his pitch perception." (There was no such discussion. I would have liked to have heard it.)Then she adds: "Mr. Rothlisberger is incredibly skilled at pitch identification, but has a very low tolerance for mid to high frequency stimulation." (Yes, especially when they are turned up way louder than speech and 'the clinician" will not turn them down no matter what. Rowbartz STILL did not understand the harsh zone (2k-4k Hz) and what to do about it, like turn down the volume!!. Or she was deliberately, abusively, resisting.)

Rowbartz wrote in her MR: "Mr. Rothlisberger was adamantly not interested in multiple maps for comparison." Well, no. Why should I compare four programs that sucked? I wanted ONE map that didn't suck. Every MAP she ever made thus far just SUCKED.

By this time, I thought she was totally out of her depths and I had to figure out my own solutions and somehow get her to “cooperate.”  I did not yet consider that she might be actually trying to screw me over. And there was still a high pitched whistle-hiss she did not know how to find, identify, and fix. It remained a louder-than-speech "hoot" on every noise and syllable.


At the session, I got her to lower the 2k-5k Hz range 4 dB, by my ear, (or the current unit equivalent) and the harshness cleared. Then she went through individual channels seeking the whistle to no avail. Rowbartz then lowered a range of something (she knew, I didn’t) until the whistle disappeared. But then she went too far and changed voice quality, muffling slightly. Out of time, she saved that. She then wrote this belittling statement in her MR: "Mr. Rothlisberger then began to see the need for some high frequency in order to achieve a 'happy medium' balance." Of course, I had been achieving happy mediums in my recordings for 20 years before I ever even heard of a cochlear implant or a Wiley Wiley Rowbartz. I had likely balanced more sounds than she had ever even heard. Evidently, she was seeking to impugn me to whomever next audiologist might read these records. Such a nice doctor.

Rowbartz said she needed an X-ray (CT scan ordered by the surgeon) of the implant electrode array to ascertain that that there were no problem  there. It proved to be fine. She talked about giving a referral to a specialist, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville under whom Rowbartz claimed to have studied. Would I sign a release of Medical Records for this? Not knowing they were derogatory, I did. Rowbartz later said she contacted this specialist several times but received no response. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, the processor's programming still sucked.


A few days later, I contacted Cochlear Americas via their online form. I explained the whistle hiss and asked "How do I tell my clinician how to find/locate/pinpoint that specific loud frequency spike so as to attenuate it?" They wrote back saying "Our engineers are investigating." I never heard any more about it. So much for their customer service.

Later, it occurred to me to try using a tone generator to pitch match loud frequency. It was a fairly simple procedure. I obtained a tone generator with a frequency/pitch slider and moved the slider until it pitch-matched the the whistle-hiss at just under 2000 HZ plus/minus 30 frequencies. Voila! I was now ready for my next appointment. This time, Rowbartz  would find the channel with that frequency and lower it, finally suppressing the whistle-hiss and getting it out of the way of speech. But, no; Rowbartz would screw it up again.


Late April


This time Rowbartz reset the processor to the previous setting: 2k-5k lowered. She adjusted to remove the harshness as before. Then she explored the loud frequency spot, channel 15. Lowering he C-level improved the mix a little. 

I recognized that, but also noted that a softer hiss still prevailed, likely from the adjacent channel. Since time was running out, I acquiesced to Rowbartz’ demand to stop until next time. I felt that the whistle/hiss was finally on the way to being fixed. Clinician Rowbartz's statements in her MR suggested that perhaps she did not want it to be fixed and preferred to have me debased. This would show up again at  the unexpected June final  appointment.

In her MR, Rowbartz erroneously wrote: "Mr. Rothlisberger has contacted the engineers at Cochlear  Americas and provided a graph depicting where he perceives his “harshness.” Another lie. While I told her I contacted them and asked how to tell her how to find and attenuate the loud spot, I did not send any graph to the engineers. Rowbartz wrote so many of these lies perhaps to deliberately demean me to a future audiologist who might read these falsified records.

Rowbartz, in all these months, demonstrated no ability to understand the essential problem, isolate it, and fix it. My wife and I were nearly nervous wrecks tolerating her.

 


MAY 

AT the May appointment,  I managed to arrive at two half-adjusted programs, both having a loud whistle-hiss that had prevailed for four months. She did not know how to find it. I asked her to lower the gain on groups of channels until the hiss disappeared.Then we would identify the individual channel. She explained that channels cannot be manipulated individually. She lied! Why?

So with program 1 half-adjusted at the last session, I requested a return to my November 2020 (MAP #5) in my program 2 slot. It was very loud. But I remembered hearing like I had never heard since. I wanted to try it for a while. She reminded me that I didn't like that one before. But when I asked her to “drop the volume by 12 decibels” (18 current units as she wrote in her MR), I quietly noted that, while the voice register volume was now soft, the harshness was gone and the consonants were clean and crisp—evidence to me that reducing the 2k-4k Hz range did indeed remove the harshness that I'd been trying to get this stubborn clinician to do for four months. I planned to have her raise the lower speech range at the next appointment. Then that program would likely be workable. 


Rowbartz spoke of having difficulty getting information, help, and answers from the Cochlear Americas company. My wife and I remember her saying they were not helpful and she had to get quite vehement with them to get them to do anything. She had consistently resisted replacing the processor. Yet she was consistently "consulting the company and sharing my information and programs with them" whatever that meant.

She also spoke of arranging an "integrity test" of the actual implant. She stated that she thought that might be the cause of the whistle-hiss. I was still sure the cause was her programming. But naively not suspecting a set-up, I went along with her plan.

In her MR, Rowbartz AGAIN referred to my taking medications for anti depression etc."‘because of his difficulty hearing" as she had done multiple times. Her continual reminders’ seem suspiciously like preparation for “patient blaming” to be seen by a next healthcare provider. But NO! The medications were because of my frustration with Rowbartz’s destructive treatment, stupid statements, and wretched programming after all these months.


Om May, after the session, Ms. Rowbartz emailed:

The Integrity testing equipment provided by Cochlear Americas is limited to one unit per territory. The eleaborate equipment is not available for us until June xx, 2021.  I realize your sense of urgency in resolving Mr. Rothlisberger's hearing difficulties and I apologize.I have further reviewed his programs and complaints with my Cochlear rep and while the integrity test can confirm that the implant itself is working, his mapping history and impedance history (acceptable current levels in electrodes) all indicate that the internal components are working.(she's pushing same old lie), caused us to have to essentially start over with how we presented the electrical stimulation in terms of frequency allocation. Off course the goal with the cochlear implant was to help him understand speech. I know this is disappointing news. If you would now prefer to [seek another clinician] for a second opinion, I can send you a packet of his records.

Wiley Rowbartz, AuD


Later t, Rowbartz sent another email:

I forgot to mention that I did order a new processor and coil, which may arrive by Monday. (How interesting, I thought.)  Although the problems you have described do not correlate to processor or coil issues, we are replacing them nonetheless.  The processor will arrive with the programs from your last session. You will need to remove the magnet from your coil and place it in the new coil. You will need to pair the new processor to your remote by turning on the processor and the remote and placing the new coil (once you've attached it the processor with the magnet) on the back of the remote. Cochlear will provide a box to return your current processor with a prepaid mailing label and instructions for returning the processor.

Wiley Rowbartz, AuD


A week later, I received the replacement (refurbished not new) processor and coil. I compared  both processors while I had them. The replacement sounded cleaner and clearer. I tested the frequencies between 2k-5k Hz with the tone generator, gliding with the slider bar. I heard the replacement glided smoothly though the frequencies while the original spit, sputtered, and jumped amplitudes like a car radio seeking stations in a rural area.
That convinced me the original processor had been problematic (defective?) after all, Rowbartz was a liar, last January, with her claim that the"processor was working perfectly." Was this replacement a coverup?

The integrity test was arranged for June and my adjustments would take place after the test. I spent time studying how I wanted the adjustments made to my two half-adjusted programs and preparing notes and communication accordingly.

June

The June session began. My wife and I entered Rowbartz' office to find a select audience. There were two Cochlear company representatives based in Alabama (living in Falls Hope);a dark haired old woman who was introduced as a regional manager (identified in the MR as Hannah Goldbody), and a younger woman (Stella Greeley) who would execute the test. That "special elaborate equipment, only one per territory" turned out to be nothing more than a piece of software onGreeley's little laptop that generates repeated clicking noises. Very misleading.


It was a scheduled trap, an ambush set-up. But my wife and I didn't know that yet, even though I felt really bad vibes on entry.

With the test finished, Rowbartz acted as though proceeding with adjustments. Suddenly, she leaned into my face and sneered " I just leveled all your electrodes. Your processor is now perfect." She stepped back a bit and barked: "Now, I don't want to see you again for four months!" I was stunned.

"Four months!?" I exclaimed.

Without a millisecond's hesitation, this vicious woman barked "I didn't yell at you. Don't you yell at me!"

I saw and heard it immediately. She had verified the electrodes with the CT; she had replaced the processor; she had prepped company witnesses for backup; now she maladjusted my processor and played 'watch me put this old goat in his place' for the pleasure of her select "witnesses."

I immediately determined that I was finished with this deplorable bitch! No way would I come back in four months for her to screw around again for another nine months.

Words were exchanged. With my maladjusted processor, I couldn't understand but a few words. Rowbartz began talking in a mocking, taunting voice. Then the dark haired old rep, Goldbody joined in.

My wife, in her wheelchair, began saying "this is unacceptable" several times.

"Nah," I said. "it's time to find a better audiologist." My wife and I then left. I was angry. If I had the power to send them to hell, those bitches would be flaming and drinking gasoline martinis right then.

We began seeking a new audiologist that very day.

#

Three months later in September, we obtained and read her demeaning, insulting, Medical Records, I saw lies, misstatements, errors and falsified statements regarding the processor malfunction and other things. Of course, her writings tell a different story.

The MR tells the last episode differently. It says that I SHOUTED "FOUR MONTHS!!!" and was calmly told that yelling would not be tolerated. It was explained that my brain would require four months to adjust to this latest setting and that I argued with the clinician and the company  representatives. The "mocking and taunting" was Rowbartz at the computer asking me to identify the specific pitch that had been in question for so long, as she swept the frequencies. She wrote that I was unable to do so.Then, she wrote, she escorted my wife and me to the lobby while my wife" berated the clinician (Rowbartz) the whole time."

My suspicions were confirmed. She was an arrogant, acrimonious, sadistically abusive quack with 20 years of shallow experience, who would willingly destroy anyone who "challenged" her. She was the most horrible medical nightmare of my entire life!

She worked quite hard to earn my disrespect and hatred.

Winfield Rothlisbergr, MM, JD, PhD



Now, imagine what THIS doctor could do for your or your children's cochlear implants!

Dr. Wiley Rowbartz



top