Four ways to observe Better Hearing and Speech Month this May.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, an annual awareness campaign created by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The aim is to spread awareness of communication issues such as hearing loss. ASHA is a professional organization for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and other professionals who specialize in assessing and preventing hearing and communication concerns.
Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) can trace its roots back to 1927, when it was established by the Federation of Organizations for the Hard of Hearing as National Hearing Week. The event expanded to Better Hearing Month in 1958 and became known as Better Hearing and Speech Month in 1972.
Recent Better Hearing and Speech Months have focused on themes, including “Communication for All,” “Communication Across the Lifespan,” and “Communication at Work.”
In the past, ASHA has sponsored events such as fundraisers and concerts in honor of the month. But since the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to prevent large, in-person gatherings, this year’s celebrations are virtual.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get involved from home — there are plenty of ways to observe Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, including:
- Spread the word
- Get your friends and family involved
- Have your hearing tested
- Follow tips for hearing loss prevention
This year’s theme is “Building Connections.” Keep reading to find out how you can build connections across the hearing loss community and promote Better Hearing and Speech Month this May!
Spread the word
One of the best ways to support Better Hearing and Speech Month is to spread awareness of BHSM and what it means. Millions of people in the United States experience hearing loss, but many avoid talking to a doctor or audiologist about their symptoms for years. Promoting awareness is the first step to ensuring people understand how common hearing loss is, what can cause it, how to protect your hearing, and the treatment options and assistive listening devices available.
You can spread the word by:
- Putting up or handing out these BHSM postersin your community.
- Printing out these BHSM bookmarksand handing them out, so people are reminded of hearing health every time they read.
- Participating in ASHA’s annual social media contest, Speaking Up for Communication.
Get your friends and family involved
Invite the important people in your life to be advocates for hearing health! There are plenty of ways to include your friends and family in your support of Better Hearing and Speech Month, even the little ones.
ASHA offers several different Zoom backgrounds that you can put up as your background on video calls. When you join meetings or meet up with friends for a virtual game night, your background will remind them that it’s Better Hearing and Speech Month! ASHA also offers a fun BHSM coloring page that you can color with your children or grandchildren.
Actually Build Connections
What better way to support BHSM’s theme of “Building Connections” than by actually connecting with the important people in your life? Thanks to assistive technology such as the CapTel captioned telephone, people with hearing loss can communicate over the phone much more easily, making telephone calls simple and enjoyable again. So live the spirit of BHSM and re-connect over the phone – just to say hi.
Have your hearing tested
A big part of preventing hearing loss is detecting the signs early on. You should have your hearing tested annually and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Having your hearing tested isn’t something you should wait to do until you reach a certain age — exposure to loud noise and genetics can also factor into hearing loss at any age! If your hearing loss is linked to genetics, it’s crucial for other family members to get tested as well. Check out these resources for more information on hearing loss.
Follow tips for hearing loss prevention.
Hearing loss can significantly impact several areas of your health and lifestyle. The good news? There are certain things you can do every day to help prevent hearing loss, including:
- Limit your exposure to loud noises.
- Wear hearing protection such as earplugs if you have to be around loud noises.
- Have your earwax removed professionally instead of trying to remove it on your own with a cotton swab.
- Visit your audiologist annually to get your hearing tested.
Practice these tips yourself and share them with others to help spread hearing health knowledge!
Better Hearing and Speech Month is an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about hearing health and connect with the hearing loss community. Whether you post about hearing loss on social media, use a BHSM background the next time you Zoom with your family, or share hearing loss prevention facts with your friends, you are doing your part to raise awareness of this critical issue!
To learn more about hearing loss prevention and hearing health resources, keep reading the CapTel blog.