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May is Better Speech & Hearing Month

Monday, May 12, 2014

For over 75 years, May has been designated as Better Speech and Hearing Month—a time to raise public awareness, knowledge and understanding of the various forms of communication impairments to include those of hearing, speech, language, swallowing  and voice.  Communication impairments affect the most vulnerable in our society—the young, the aged, the disabled and the poor.

Daniel Webster said, “If all my possessions were taken from me with the exception of one, I would choose to keep the power of communication for with it I could soon regain the rest.”
Speech-Language Pathology (Speech-Language Pathologists) and Audiology (Audiologists) are the professions concerned with the prevention, identification and treatment of communication impairments.  After earning a master’s degree, passing a national examination, and serving a yearlong clinical internship, these professionals are eligible for certification in the form of the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Both professions were rated among the top 50 for job satisfaction in recent Jobs Rated Almanac.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that approximately 43,000,000 people in the United States suffer from a speech, voice, language or hearing impairment. Almost 28,000,000 suffer from a hearing loss. Approximately 10% of children have moderate to severe communication impairments, including speech production/articulation, stuttering, and language-learning disabilities to include significant reading problems. Approximately 1,000,000 people in the US have aphasia- a language disorder resulting from brain damage usually caused by a stroke.

An estimated 28 million Americans have a hearing loss that can be treated, yet fewer than 7,000,000 use a hearing aid.  You could be one of them.  Now is a good time to take stock of your own hearing and seek help if you think you may have a problem.

Speech and language disorders take many forms such as articulation, speech, voice, stuttering, aphasia and oral language problems.  They may be from learning based, acquired, or the result of accidental injury or illness at any age.  Speech and language disorders can limit academic achievement, social adjustment and career advancement.  “Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped,” according to Kathy Pazak MS/CCC of the Rehab Department at Fort HealthCare.  “Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach people with speech and language problems strategies to help them communicate. Patients may not fully regain their capacity to speak or understand, but a skilled speech-language-pathologist can help them achieve an improved quality of life.

For your convenience, the speech-language-pathologists at Fort HealthCare evaluate and treat speech, voice, swallowing, cognitive and language disorders in children and adults at our 3 outpatient clinics Monday through Friday.  If you think you or a loved one could benefit from an evaluation by a trained communication/swallowing specialist, seek help at one of our outpatient clinics. The speech pathologist will assist you with your concerns. 

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