Better Hearing and Speech Month 2017
Founded in 1927, by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the month of May has been recognized as Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). This year’s theme: Communication: The Key To Connection highlights the need for awareness about communication disorders and the impact they have on an individual’s quality of life. To put that statement into perspective, according to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, approximately 46 million Americans experience a communication disorder.
The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states more than 135,000 Speech-Language Pathologists and another 14,000 Audiologists are at work in the United States. Currently, both of these professions are expected to grow between 21% and 29% over the next 10 years. BHSM is the perfect opportunity to recognize the life-changing work that Hearing and Speech professionals perform in treating those afflicted with some form of communication disorder. The approximate 15% of American adults suffering from hearing loss report feelings of isolation, a disconnect from family and friends, and lack of community involvement. By raising awareness through BHSM events and activities, these individuals are encouraged to take action if they believe they are having communication issues.
BHSM is also focused on encouraging parents to make an effort to identify potential speech and language issues with their children. Even minor speech and hearing challenges can impact a child’s ability to learn and damage self-esteem. Signs of hearing loss include:
- Frequently asking for instructions to be repeated
- Turning an ear toward the direction of a sound or conversation to hear better
- Complaining about frequent pain or ringing in the ears
- Having the volume levels turned up high when watching TV or listening to music
- Relying more on facial expressions and lip movements, more direct staring when engaged in conversation
It is important to note that most hearing loss is treatable. The key is for the person or parent to seek out the help of an audiologist for a hearing examination. Having a diagnosis or a starting point for treatment is an important step in reestablishing the important connections in life through better communication.
Visit the ASHA BHSM website for important resources to help you participate in awareness activities throughout the month of May. For those who are frequently utilizing various social media outlets to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues, consider a Twitter or Facebook photo for posting. Speech and Hearing professionals are also encouraged to share their story on the special BHSM story page.
Or if you prefer, share your BHSM plans or career story in the comment section below or visit us on our Facebook page and tell us why you love being a Speech and Hearing professional.