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National Better Hearing and Speech Month: Raising Your Voice for Those Who Can’t

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National Better Hearing and Speech Month: Raising Your Voice for Those Who Can’t

May is National Better Hearing and Speech Month. This month recognizes and brings awareness to communication disorders. These disorders come from a huge array of backgrounds such as autism, hearing and hearing loss, and neurogenic speech and language issues. Getting to know the disorders is one step you can take to raising your voice for those who can’t.

 

There are over 46 million Americans that experience issues with communication. With a number like that, you would think there would be more recognition of the different disorders that encompass this every growing issue. Thankfully the NIDCD, ASHA, and many other allied organizations are here to provide the public with information about the disorders as well as treatments.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, effects each child different. While many have little to no issue with hearing, there are those that do. Often, children diagnosed with ASD have an inner ear deficiency which hinders them from being able to recognize speech. This deficiency can cause increases in language and learning difficulties which hugely impacts a child’s growth and development.

 

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can come from many factors including age-induced and noise-induced loss. Age related hearing loss is fairly common and affects nearly half of adults over the age of 75. This change in ability is usually due to changes in the middle ear as we age or from changes in nerve pathways from the ear to the brain. Although there is no way to stop this from happening, it can be helped with hearing devices or the use of sign language. Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and happens when a loud and sudden noise damages the sensitive structures within the inner ear. However, this loss is 100% preventable by wearing proper ear protection. Make sure to help protect the ears of children who are too young to protect themselves.

 

Neurogenic Speech and Language Issues

Neurogenic speech and language issues typically come from a nervous system impairments that creates an inability to exchange information with others. This type of speech disorder can come in various forms. Sometimes they manifest in a way that disturbs the formulation or comprehension of language, it can show as an inability to translate speech plans into motor activity, or it can even disturb the muscular control the produces speech. Therapy for these wide range of issues varies greatly and can be increasing cognitive skills involving memory, functions and word retrieval to motor therapy to improve phonation, articulation and motor planning.

 

This month, be sure to recognize and advocate for those with hearing and speech impairments. By learning about these issues, you are better equipped to empathize and teach others how to promote awareness.