The theme for this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) is “Communication Takes Care.” Its goal is to raise everyone’s awareness about communication disorders. It is the sad truth that communication impairments often affect the most vulnerable portion of our society – the poor, the disabled and, of course the aged.
According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “Approximately 43,000,000 people in the United States suffer from a speech, voice, language, or hearing impairment. Approximately 1,000,000 people in the United States have aphasia – a language disorder resulting from brain damage caused by a stroke.”
Of all her impairments, Helen Keller noted that she was most troubled by her lack of speech and hearing. She said that while blindness separated her from things, her lack of speech and hearing separated her from people.
Fortunately today there is treatment available to seniors (among others) who feel they may have a problem with hearing and speech. Treatment can greatly improve the quality of life in people and aid in any communication problems.
Some of the communication signs that seniors can look for include:
- Needing to ask people to repeat themselves.
- Realizing that you are turning an ear toward the direction of the sound in order to hear it better.
- When looking directly at a person, you understand the conversation better because you need to see their facial expressions and lip movements to fully understand them.
- Difficulty in hearing all parts of a group conversation.
- Tinnitus – experiencing pain or ringing in the ears.
- Needing to turn up the volume of the radio or TV to levels that are higher than other people normally use.
If you are experiencing any of these conditions we recommend that you visit an audiologist for a hearing test. Audiologists are the professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating hearing problems. The worst thing that you can do for yourself is to postpone this visit because you are afraid of the outcome. Please know that, in most cases, hearing loss is treatable.
In the case of speech and language disorders, such as aphasia, a speech and language pathologist should be consulted. These are the professionals who treat various aspects of all types of speech, language, voice, stuttering, hearing, and related disorders. They hold at least a master’s degree and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Make this May the month that you will address your hearing or speech problems. Call Kabb Law at 216-991-KABB (5222) for some recommendations from our professional team.