It’s May, the Time to Take Action on Hearing and Speech Issues
During the month of May, people are called upon to raise awareness on many diverse topics. It is also my birth month. But I never ever thought that May would become important to me as “Better Hearing and Speech” Month.
Connections through Communication
Every year since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) dedicates the month of May to promote public understanding of hearing and speech disorders. These are two essential components of effective communication at any age.
The basic message is to get professionally tested, to get help and a plan for moving forward. Underlying issues can often be alleviated or even corrected—but they must be diagnosed and evaluated first. This year’s theme is “Building Connections”, which is the ultimate reward of good communication skills for adults and children alike.
Hearing loss actions
My personal bias lies with Hearing Loss – with the most frequent type of hearing loss, namely acquired losses. The month of May to-do list for those with hearing loss might feature actions like the following:
1) Get out of denial and follow up on the hearing issues that affect quality of life.
2) Get comprehensive, professional hearing tests done to determine the kind and degree of loss.
3) Learn about the condition and about the various types of hearing technology
4) Discuss the most appropriate and affordable way to get hearing help with a hearing specialist.
5) Remember that the path to better hearing requires patience. It is a journey, and in most cases not a miraculous fix
Advocating for loops and telecoils
The month of May also offers a prime opportunity for advocating for hearing loop technology that can help people understand speech so much better in background noise. This is the bane for those with hearing loss.
Hearing loops are accessed by means of telecoils which are wireless antennas installed in most hearing aids. People are often not told about this technology by hearing specialists because “there are not enough loops around.”
So, we have to ask for such loops to be installed and for hearing aids with telecoils. Nothing happens by itself. It falls on us, the people with hearing loss, to advocate for the technology that can help us. Learn about it.
By the way, anyone who has a portable telecoil device with earbuds or headset can listen to loops. No hearing loss required. If the general public only knew that! Things might be changing a lot faster in loud and echoey places like churches, meeting rooms and convention halls.
Get on board
Don’t procrastinate on communication barriers. And so, it is time to take action on hearing and speech issues at any age. With summer coming on, get on board – for it is May and striving for improved communication is OK.