Beginning in 1927, the month of May has been promoted as Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Each year, ASHA aims to raise awareness about different hearing and speech problems encouraging individuals to take actions if a problem exists. This year’s campaign is “Communication Across the Lifespan,” highlighting the important role communication plays at every stage of one’s life. Better Hearing and Speech Month is also an opportunity to recognize all of the amazing healthcare professionals who have chosen a career as a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, speech, language, and hearing scientists, and support personnel.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), at least 20% of adults in the U.S. will experience hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, or language challenges at some point in their life. Hearing loss and other communication disorders are particularly difficult for young children and older adults. In children, hearing issues can delay the development of voice, speech, and language skills and contribute to learning disabilities and social disorders once adolescence or adulthood is reached.
Each week of May, ASHA has planned a different promotion based on segments of an individual’s lifespan.
- May 5th – 11th: Communication Disorders in Infants
- May 12th – 18th: Communication Disorders in Toddlers/Preschoolers
- May 19th – 25th: Communication Disorders in School-Age Children
- May 26th – 31st: Communication Disorders in Adults
Parents who may be concerned about their child’s communication development can learn more at IdentifytheSigns.org or ASHA.org.
Adults who have suffered from brain injury, stroke, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can experience a wide variety of speech and language challenges. Better Hearing and Speech Month also provides an opportunity to highlight a condition, treated by speech-language-pathologists, that is often overlooked, swallowing disorders. Called Dysphagia, it is a common side effect of numerous diseases that afflict adults and severely impacts a person’s ability to eat and drink.
Audiologists diagnose, treat, and help individuals manage their hearing loss. If you suspect hearing loss in yourself or a loved one, ASHA is providing a Self-Test for Hearing Loss for adults and children.
It is impossible to overstate the importance that communication, in any form, has on our lives. From our earliest days as humans, communication played a role in connecting us to one another. Whether through pictures, signs or gestures, music and art, to the written or spoken word, the need and ability to communicate is integral to our daily lives. During Better Hearing and Speech Month, take time to recognize those professionals who have made it their life’s work to help others communicate. We want to hear about your Better Hearing and Speech Month activities. Share your plans in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
If you are a speech-language patholigst, audiologist, or other speech or hearing healthcare professional, Supplemental Health Care has many exciting opportunities to help take your career to the next level. Reach out to one of our recruitment professionals today and put us to work for you.
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