Clearing the Air on Speech and Hearing Disorders

Maintaining harmony in life is a balancing act—keeping that balance may be more challenging for those who can’t hear well or have speech problems. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has designated May as Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) in order to raise awareness about communication disorders, remove the mystery surrounding them, and let everyone know where to seek help.

Even just going through a normal day can affect your hearing:

 

Speech disorders occur when a person can’t produce sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with their voice. Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language).

Fortunately, there are professionals who can help.

Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Hearing Health Foundation reports that:

  • 40 million Americans have communication disorders
  • 6–8 million Americans have some form of language impairment

Audiologists provide care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Statistics show that:

  • Approximately 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss
  • One in five Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear
  • Approximately 26 million Americans, ages 20–69, have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Speech-Language, Pathology & Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board regulates licensees in both of these professions. To check on the license of a hearing aid dispenser, speech-language pathologist or audiologist, please visit the Board’s website at http://www.speechandhearing.ca.gov/

 

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