Since 1972, NAHSA, the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action, has recognized May as Better Speech and Hearing Month. The month raises awareness for and recognizes the 1.5 billion individuals globally who live with hearing loss. In 2024, the observance month will take on a new name, moving forward as National Speech-Language-Hearing Month.
The change comes as an effort to drop the use of “better,” which could be perceived as judgment to those with hearing loss or communication disorders, and find value and validity in being differently abled. The intention and efforts of the month will stay the same, to educate the public about communication disorders and what can be done to address them or prevent them.
Why It’s Important
Of the 1.5 billion individuals with hearing loss, 430 million individuals have disabling hearing loss. In the U.S., approximately 15% of adults report some trouble hearing. Thus, deafness and hearing loss are widespread, with 20% of the global population having some form of hearing loss. It’s estimated that by 2050, there could be more than 700 million people with disabling hearing loss.
The World Health Organization also recognizes an increase in noise exposure related to hearing loss and has issued new standards for safe listening levels in 2022. Additionally, there is an increase in speech delays in children coming out of the pandemic, and the aging population is expected to continue to develop hearing loss. The combination of all factors makes Speech-Language-Hearing awareness particularly relevant.
Each year, NAHSA launches digital campaigns and PSAs and spreads awareness and information via web and downloadable information, and does so bilingually. The campaigns aim to engage and reach hundreds of millions of individuals. NAHSA is the only organization focused solely on public education of communication health. The organization is the consumer affiliate of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. To get involved in National Speech-Language-Hearing Month, contact South Bellevue or North Bellevue Community Center to inquire about events or local organizations.
To learn more about your hearing health or to schedule a hearing test for you or a loved one, contact Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic to schedule an appointment..