The HCE Supports Better Speech and Hearing Month
May 21, 2012
Every May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) celebrates Better Speech and Hearing Month. This annual observance raises awareness about communication disorders and promotes treatment to improve the quality of life for those experiencing problems with speaking, language comprehension or hearing. The Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE), along with many other health-focused organizations, educators, and clinicians, come together during the month of May to support this noteworthy observance and share resources and tips to help the public.
The importance of the issue cannot be overstated. Although the observance is only a month long, the issue warrants continued advocacy and support because of its growing prevalence, significant impact and tangible costs. Today, it is estimated that nearly 28 million Americans suffer from preventable hearing loss. In military communities, the ratio is even higher. Hearing loss can have devastating consequences. It can have an impact on one’s relationships, family, career advancement, academic achievement and social adjustment. In the military, it can interfere with warrior safety, mission accomplishment and readiness. This observance represents a reminder to have your hearing checked and to take proper precautions to protect your hearing at work, at home and in your day-to-day activities.
While some forms of hearing loss are congenital, other forms are caused by accidental injury or illness. For instance, a growing number of service members suffer hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises in their on and off-duty activities. In many cases both inside and outside the military, hearing loss is preventable. Modern hearing protective devices and proper behavior and controls can go a long way in preserving hearing. When hearing loss does occur, treatment may be available. It is therefore important for every individual (both military and non-military) to receive regular screenings for hearing loss. A speech-language pathologist or audiologist can identify the type and degree of injury and discuss corresponding treatment options. In the event that full hearing capacity cannot be regained, the clinician can recommend strategies to manage or cope with the symptoms so that one can live more independently.
The HCE is excited about supporting this observance throughout the month of May and in continuing its advocacy throughout the year. In late 2012, we plan to embark on a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of noise as well as the preventable nature of many forms of hearing loss. We hope that this campaign, along with other such efforts (e.g., Better Hearing and Speech Month), will educate individuals about the causes and consequences of hearing loss and empower service members and citizens to combat it.
To receive updates about the progress of the campaign or learn how to get involved, please sign up for the HCE’s Email Updates . And, be sure to get your hearing checked as part of Better Hearing and Speech Month.
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