Let’s tackle hearing and speech issues this May
Better Hearing and Speech Month
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and it’s the perfect opportunity to create understanding about communication disorders and how common they are. If you or a loved one experiences hearing or speech issues, visiting our clinic is not only normal, but encouraged!
Over 40 million Americans experience some kind of hearing loss — from Alaska, to California, to New York to Hawaii, to our location in Jacksonville, FL and everywhere else in our nation — t’s common, and it’s treatable. Yet, many go without treatment, needlessly closing themselves off from the world and their loved ones.
In the words of one of our audiologists, Dr. Fenja Mattson, “Research has shown that addressing hearing loss can positively impact all aspects of a person’s life – personally, professionally and financially… I know we make it possible for people to continue to participate in the workforce by wearing hearing aids.”
There’s often a stigma attached to getting treatment, especially with hearing loss. While hearing issues affect people of all ages, it’s most common in older adults and many feel hearing aids are a painful reminder of aging. Some feel shame for needing them in the first place, or simply feel they draw attention to their ears. Yet, there’s no shame in taking steps to preserve your hearing.
Not addressing hearing issues may come at a price. It’s important to know that hearing isn’t just about the outer and inner ear, but it actually happens in the brain. Therefore, loss of hearing affects the brain. Studies have shown that, for adults, untreated hearing loss is associated with increased risk of falls, cognitive loss and even dementia. In children, it can lead to difficulties in communication and language skills, affecting school performance. It’s important to have a hearing test as soon as possible if you think there may be an issue.
Know the signs of hearing loss
Part of Better Hearing and Speech Month is raising awareness about how to identify communication disorders, so be sure to educate yourself on identifying the early signs of hearing loss. Because the earlier you detect and treat, the better!
For children, you may notice:
- Lack of attention to sounds
- Failure to follow simple directions
- Delays in speech and language development
- Pulling or scratching at his/her ears
In adults, hearing loss signs can include:
- Buzzing or ringing in the ears
- Muffled hearing
- Need to increase the volume on the television or radio
- Constant frustration hearing speech and other sounds
As for speech issues, our Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) help both children and adults. Like hearing loss, there’s no shame in getting treatment from a professional speech pathologist. The benefits of speech therapy can be profound. For children — both on and off the autism spectrum — it can mean developing crucial vocabulary and avoiding problems at school. For adults, it can mean helping a patient re-learn how to communicate, especially after suffering speech impairment due to stroke or other brain injury. We know change is possible because we’ve seen it many times.
If you suspect you, or someone you love, may have the early signs of hearing loss, or have experienced difficulties in communication, then book an appointment for a hearing test or evaluation. What better time than Better Speech and Hearing Month?
The Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center has been providing the highest quality professional and compassionate care to all individuals with speech, hearing, and/or language disorders in our community of Jacksonville, Florida since 1949. We work with everyone, whether you have insurance or not, because we believe in quality care at an affordable price. Remember, the earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome. With us, you’re not alone.