Applying Person-Centered Care in Mexico: An Interview with Elena Piña Méndez

By Amanda Farah Cox

Elena Piña Méndez is a hearing care professional based in Mexico City and a member of the Ida Community. Her varied work sees her traveling to treat clients and fit hearing aids as well as maintaining a private practice and teaching university students. We spoke to her about her work, and how she strives to bring person-centered care into her various roles.

Tell us a little about your work.

I have been working since 2002 in the rehab areas of language, learning and hearing. I have run workshops in continuing education for parents and professionals on topics such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, communication disorders, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems. All this explains my interest in the tools provided by the Ida Institute.

I’m also a consultant for integration projects in elementary schools where I work to help students with special needs or disabilities who have been integrated in mainstream schools.

Finally, I collaborate on prevention programs on hearing care for audiology residents, and I teach audio-prosthetics at Las Américas University (UDLA) in Mexico City.

What is your private practice like?

In my private practice I receive patients of all ages from 3-month-old babies to 99-year-old adults. One of my patients is actually 100 years old! Most of my patients show a hearing loss. We provide them with otoscopy, audiometrics, impression-taking and hearing aids calibration.

My office is colorful. Blue and orange are the predominant colors. Since it is a space in which adults and children get together, we tried to make it fun and with a unique ambiance.

What are some challenges of implementing person-centered care?

Unfortunately, there is a lack of prevention and hearing-care culture in Mexico. This explains why some people reject or dismiss the help a hearing aid can provide. Most male patients within the range of 55 to 70 years old tend to reject hearing aids.

However, tools such as the Living Well Tool help to develop a metacognitive process, which allows the patients to weigh the pros and cons and creates awareness of how a hearing aid may improve daily life for them with proper use and rehabilitation provided. Ida’s counseling tools help us to achieve better and more pleasant professional experiences every day.