Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Better Hearing and Speech Month Logo

From the first moments of life, people strive to communicate. It's how humans express likes, dislikes, joys, thoughts, and worries. Communication makes life easier. People who have problems with hearing and speech not only have a hard time relating their inner lives to others, but communicating simple needs--like where they want the taxi driver to take them. Better Hearing and Speech Month is a public health campaign that has focused awareness on the problems and solutions of speech, language, and hearing since 1927.

Sounds -- both the ones we hear and the ones we make -- help us to understand others and be understood. Ronald Reagan

Since 1927 Better Hearing and Speech Month has strived to raise awareness around the needs of those with hearing and speech problems. Today many societies have come a long way in making the world more inclusive. A big part of this has to do with the advances in technology.

Not only are there apps designed specifically to engage and assist those with hearing loss and speech/language problems, but hearing aids now sync with phones, iPads, and computers. These advances allow communication, creating greater equality, but they also allow for freedom from the strains of communication as it used to be.

It's easier for someone today with a hearing or speech problem to do something like order pizza now that they can to so online. In the past, ordering involved using a phone and that could be difficult. But advances in technology isn't limited to the Internet. Communication advances include phones, indication loops in taxis, public places, and theaters, improved hearing aid technologies, and insights into speech and language development. But today's Better Hearing and Speech Month isn't just about raising awareness for people who already have hearing/speech/language difficulties, but also in helping to raise awareness about getting help for people who have those difficulties.

This year's theme for BHSM is "Early Intervention Counts." And it's true! Not only is it important for people who have language and speech issues to engage with a Speech-Language Pathologist, but those with hearing loss are aided in numerous ways by correcting their hearing deficit.

Hearing loss has been linked with serious cognitive issues like dementia and Alzheimer's, unexpected falls, and loss of interest in life. More importantly intervention counts and makes a difference! People who treat their hearing loss are shown to be happier, live healthier lives, and it is now shown that the plasticity of the brain can be aided through the use of hearing aids. That's because hearing aids supply sound to regions of the brain that would atrophy without those sounds. Taking care of hearing is one of the most important things a person can do to improve whole body health!

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is an advocate for Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). They work tirelessly to promote the month and offer free educational and promotional materials to the public. Targeting awareness is often difficult when it comes to hearing loss, because people aren't always aware that there is something wrong with their hearing. In fact, many people dismiss the most common symptoms of hearing loss.

Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss

  • Repeating: Asking to have things repeated often can be a sign of hearing loss. Don’t dismiss the possibility, because you only ask for repetition during certain situations—on the cell phone, when speaking to a female, child, or in a crowded place.
  • Volume: Turning up the volume on the television too high is a sign of hearing loss that people often dismiss, choosing instead to blame the program or the television.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding social situations because of an inability to hear in a crowd is another sign of hearing loss that people often dismiss as room acoustics. If you ind yourself making excuses to go out, you should have your hearing checked by a professional. Hearing loss is more pronounced in social situations where there is an increase in background noise.
  • If you'd like to learn more about these advanced hearing technologies, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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