Better Hearing and Speech Improve Communication
Every year the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) dedicates the month of May to raising public awareness about communication disorders related to hearing and speech. This year’s theme – “Connecting People” –recognizes once more that hearing and speech are essential components for effective communication at any age.
And so, those whose lives are affected by struggles to hear and understand are encouraged to get professional hearing tests for an accurate diagnosis. Also, anyone who feels that speech issues get in the way, socially and professionally, is encouraged to be evaluated by a knowledgeable speech pathologist.
Early Hearing and Speech Interventions are musts for children
Although good hearing is important for adults, it is essential for children whose development of speech and vocabulary can be seriously affected by hearing issues.
Without intervention, communication skills lag behind, which results in learning difficulties, diminished academic successes and problems socializing with others. Self-confidence and self-esteem suffer. Indeed, every single aspect of the child’s life is affected for now and for the future. And so, time is of the essence!
The earlier hearing loss and speech problems are detected and help is obtained, the less serious the impact on the child’s life will be. Observant parents can make a world of difference in the quality of life of their kids.
Even children who have passed the newborn hearing test can develop hearing loss for different reasons. Parents must remain vigilant for symptoms, such as
- No reaction or delayed reaction to noise or to the child’s name
- Delayed speech
- Slow development of vocabulary
- Trouble pronouncing words and forming sentences
- Being inattentive and/or acting bored
- Behavior problems such as easy frustration and acting out
Especially behavioral issues can be easily interpreted as ADHD. But is it? Might the child actually have hearing loss? Some symptoms overlap. This is yet another reason why a professional hearing test is so important.
The basic message for the month of May is to not let hearing and speech problems drag on. Instead, people at any age need a plan for moving forward. Underlying issues can often be alleviated or even corrected—but they must be diagnosed and evaluated first. And so, “Connecting People” is the ultimate reward of good communication skills for adults and children alike.
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