We’re all human, subject to health issues, whether by genetics, disease, accidents, or simply aging. It's crucial to talk about and address all health issues in a timely manner to prevent them from worsening

In the beginning of December, I had a good idea of what I’d be writing about for the January edition. Unfortunately, since then, I have experienced a traumatic personal health issue that made me switch gears. Nothing fatal or debilitating, to put any fears to rest, but very traumatic nonetheless for myself and my family. So this article is both therapeutic for me and highlights a few things I feel very strongly about when it comes to our health and providers of healthcare. 

The first thing I wish to highlight may be an obvious one, but sometimes our egos get in the way. We’re all human, subject to health issues, whether by genetics, disease, accidents or simply aging. Some problems may be ‘socially’ easier to accept, while others less so (i.e. stigma or embarrassment). But they are all part of the human condition, and therefore (should be) nothing to be embarrassed about. In my case, it was hemorrhoids. For my patients, it is hearing loss. Both conditions affect large portions of the population (~50% of adults 50+ for hemorrhoids & ~33% of adults 65+/~66% of adults 75+ for hearing loss).

I highlight the prevalence to convey the importance of talking about and addressing any/all health issues, particularly in a timely fashion so the condition doesn’t worsen due to inaction. I’m no expert when it comes to colorectal issues, but this is particularly true for hearing loss. All the scientific research/evidence clearly highlights the benefits of early, consistent treatment of sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss with amplification (i.e. hearing aids). 

The final thing I wish to highlight is the importance of finding healthcare practitioners who truly care, listen and put the patient first at all times. This is always how I’ve always practiced medicine, but this was the first time I’ve really been on the other side of the equation. My experience stems from complications to an outpatient surgery to try and address my hemorrhoid issues.

Though rare for my procedure, ‘stuff’ happened and I needed to be admitted due to abscess and kidney failure. During my ordeal, I witnessed the power/importance of empathy in my caregivers, whether it was a doctor, nurse or even the folks bringing the meals. When we are dealing with health issues, there is an emotional component too, be it stress/fear/anxiety/anger.

Obviously, first and foremost, practitioners need to be technically sound. But without the ‘caring’ component of healthcare, we lose a key aspect in truly helping those entrusting us with their care.

I hope the coming year is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for everyone!   

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Jonathan Lipschutz Audiologist, M.S., F-AAA, Owner

Jonathan is the owner of Berkeley Hearing Center. He received his bachelor of science in hearing and speech science and a master of science in audiology from Purdue University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and the California Academy of Audiology. Jonathan has over 20 years of audiology and hearing aid experience in both the non-profit and corporate sectors.

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