This May marks Better Hearing and Speech Month, an annual tradition advocated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The observance helps to raise awareness of an issue that impacts approximately 37.5 million American adults, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s also a chance for ASHA to showcase all the efforts and services available to help support people living with hearing loss.
New year, new theme
For 2015, this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month theme is “Early Intervention Counts.” One of the factors that makes hearing loss such a prevalent condition is not recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss or ignoring the signs, which may tend to worsen with age. With many new ways to test your hearing, whether at an audiologist’s office or by using your smartphone, ASHA hopes to encourage people to take advantage of these resources to identify hearing concerns earlier in the process.
Spreading the word
Better Hearing and Speech Month entails a full-on effort to raise awareness throughout the country, involving everything from nationwide events to boosting social media presence. ASHA plans on using all types of mediums, such as press releases, podcasts, infographic series, Twitter and Facebook posts and more to encourage responsible hearing practices. In addition to the efforts the organization is putting into BHSM, the group is encouraging others to get involved in all the festivities.
Ways to get involved
There are several ways people can get involved to help spread hearing loss awareness in their own communities. For starters, ASHA hopes people will take to their various social media accounts and help get the word out, “liking” and forwarding hearing loss information throughout their social network. ASHA also urges people to contact their local news stations or newspapers and suggest they cover more hearing loss-focused stories, such as highlighting the life of someone who’s living with hearing loss. Of course, the primary way to spread awareness, as well as one of the most fun, is by participating in the series of BHSM events that are planned throughout the month.
A variety of events
From concerts to fundraisers, May is filled with various BHSM events that will help combine enjoyment with awareness. In Washington D.C., ASHA will be hosting a series of Listen To Your Buds Concerts, a campaign that uses music and lectures to inform children and parents alike of all the safe hearing habits they should practice. It’s not just ASHA that is providing the public with BHSM events. Local hearing centers in communities throughout the country are hosting fundraisers for the cause. In Seattle, Seattle Seahawks football player and hearing loss advocate Derrick Coleman will collaborate with the Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic to speak on his personal experiences on living with hearing loss, as well as host plenty of activities in the community.
Do your part
While you might not think that hearing loss is affecting your life, chances are that someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and not even realize it. This is where the importance of BHSM lies. Words of encouragement and events focused on providing a better understanding of hearing loss will help people see that there are options for addressing their hearing loss, be it through assistive listening devices or captioned telephones. Don’t feel like you need to limit spreading awareness to only one month of the year! BHSM is merely a way to kick-start inspiration and motivation for others to continue furthering this important cause.