Hearing well and clearly is one of the greatest benefits we can have for our health, and maintaining good hearing health is a prerequisite for living life to the fullest.
Hearing is one of the five most important senses we have, since it allows us to be active, to relate to society and to preserve the cognitive and functional level of each individual.
José Javier Gómez is technical director at La Flota Hearing Centers and member of the National Association of Hearing Aid Practitioners and Prosthetic Audiologists. In today's interview he gives us answers to some of the frequent questions that arise when we begin to have difficulties in hearing.
Miaudífono.es: Today we are going to talk about hearing well again. I'm sure many readers are aware that they have lost their hearing, but it's also true that many of us don't hear well and don't know it. Is that so?
Hearing may be easy, but hearing well and understanding clearly what we hear is not so easy.
José Javier Gómez: Hearing problems develop slowly over time, gradually losing the ability to pick up conversations adequately and developing other cognitive problems in word processing, losing skills such as the ability to react when someone addresses the hearing-impaired patient.
Hearing requires processing of the sound signal and if we suffer from a long-standing hearing loss, we will not only find it difficult to hear but also to understand conversations, which is precisely the point we should never reach.
Hearing well again
Miaudífono.es: What can we do to check if we do indeed have a hearing problem?
JJG: Hearing deterioration is slow and progressive, therefore, the patient who is developing these problems usually attributes it to other factors such as not vocalizing correctly when they are spoken to, that they speak softly or that the television does not have good sound, and these are the first symptoms that something is not right.
In order to verify that we are not suffering from a hearing deficit, we must put ourselves in the hands of qualified professionals to carry out a hearing test and, in this way, give an exact diagnosis of what is happening to our ears.
Miaudífono.es: ¿What should we do to enjoy good hearing health and keep our ears healthy over the years?
JJG: First of all we must have a reference point. For this, we need to do an audiological study. Doing an audiological study is important for this reason.
We must take care of our ears by trying not to expose them to unnecessary noise and always wear hearing protection if we work in noisy environments. If we have a hearing loss that is not recoverable by medical treatment or surgery, we must adapt hearing aids that are appropriate to correct and help a better understanding of speech.
A hearing checkup is always a good start.
Miaudífono.es: There are patients who complain and often say, "I hear but I don't understand, why is this happening?
JJG: When fitting a hearing aid there are many factors to take into account, so we always work with the latest generation of professional hearing aids and we always recommend to dispense with false hearing aids or amplifiers.
In the information provided by the patient, in response to our question "How long have you had these hearing difficulties?, the patient might say "little," "less than a year," or "a couple of years at most," while family members may add a blunt "and more?"
We may be dealing with a patient for whom the deafness has been taking its toll for a number of years. This is also an important aspect to address. It is therefore part of our task to inform our patients about what we know today about brain plasticity and the clear benefits of early fitting of hearing aids..
An important part of the hearing care professional's job is to inform our patients of the clear benefits of early fitting of hearing aids.
JJG: Depending on the area of hearing affected, our hearing care professionals will be able to manage those expectations that are often the cause of frustration and disappointment. Only by knowing this detail can the correct advice be given and thus generate the correct expectations so that each individual is aware of his or her condition and degree of improvement.
Patients with sensorineural loss have affected the inner part of the ear or part of the auditory pathway that connects to our brain. These cases manifest themselves with mild affectations that can become severe, affecting the cognitive system, which is responsible for interpreting what we hear.
We care about your hearing health care
Hearing care professionals will accompany you throughout the entire journey, which begins at the moment hearing loss appears, always ready to accompany you in your adaptation process, because although our goal may seem to be the prosthetic adaptation itself, there is also a subsequent work of monitoring and support that will be maintained over the years. This is only the beginning of the road to hearing well and clearly.
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