At Hearing Health in Portland – we look forward to May each and every year. Not only is May the month things start getting drier in Portland – but its also Better Hearing and Speech Month. Each May, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) celebrates better hearing and speech for all Americans through their “Better Hearing and Speech Month” initiative. This year, the theme is “Communication for All”. As hearing specialists, we are extremely passionate about making communication possible for everyone – regardless of any potential speech, language or hearing impairments that may be present.
Let’s celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) together this May by raising awareness of language, speech or hearing issues in all Americans and ways we can all communicate better.
What is Better Hearing and Speech Month?
The American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) aims to “make effective communication – a human right – accessible and achievable for all”. ASHA is a community of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, students and faculty members that aim to improve awareness of issues surrounding speech and hearing by connecting members with tools and resources to improve their hearing or speech concerns.
Each May, ASHA hosts “Better Hearing and Speech Month” (BHSM) to jump-start their efforts. This year, the theme is “Communication for All”. This theme is beautifully simple and extremely inclusive – however, it is also quite broad. To help the general public understand the different aspects of improving communication for all, ASHA has broken the theme down into four subsections. For week one, the focus is on communication milestones and early identification of disorders. Week two focuses on hearing loss in school aged kids. Week three delves into swallowing issues in adults and the final week of BHSM is focused on the connections between older Americans and falls.
As the weeks of BHSM pass, ASHA will continue to add more information to their website on each subsection of information. Currently, you can access a vast amount of information on week one topics, with week two topics coming soon. To get an overview of the BHSM initiatives and information, visit their website here: https://www.asha.org/bhsm/
What are Early Warning Signs of a Speech or Hearing Issue?
The early warning signs of a hearing or speech disorder differ based on a person’s age.
Birth to Three Years: For the youngest of us, the early warning signs for a language or hearing issue are: when a child does not smile when interacting with adults, a child who does not respond to their name or stir by a loud sound, a child who does not babble before 7 months, or children 2-3 years who do not string words into sentences or have difficulty communicating with or playing with their peers. (https://www.asha.org/uploadedImages/Identify-Signs-Hearing-Loss.jpg).
School Aged: A great way to determine if a child may have a speech, language or hearing issue is whether or not a child is reaching reading and writing milestones equivalent to their grade level. Because each grade level requires vastly different reading and writing skills, they are not listed here in this blog. To see what reading and writing skills your child should know, view ASHA’s infographic here: (https://www.asha.org/uploadedImages/Watch-My-Literacy-Skills-Grow.jpg)
Adults: For adults, we tend to ignore the early warning signs of hearing loss for an average of 7 years before we reach out for help. Don’t let this be you! Some early warning signs of a hearing loss in adults is a difficulty hearing children or women, “hearing” but not understanding conversations, frustration when following conversations with multiple people or in noisy environments, and complaints from friends or family regarding listening to the TV or music too loudly.
How Can I Get Involved?
It’s easy and fun to get involved in Better Hearing and Speech Month! The best way it to participate is through the BHSM social media contest. In this contest, you can earn points that can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards – all while improving public awareness of speech, language or hearing disorders and how to solve them. To get involved and participate in the contest, sign up on their website here: https://asha.socialtoaster.com/
Can Hearing Health Help Me?
If you or someone you love may be suffering from a speech or hearing issue, reach out to us at Hearing Health today. What better time than Better Hearing and Speech Month to take the steps necessary to improve your hearing or speech?