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New Year, New Name: What to Know About Better Speech and Hearing Month’s New Name

Since 1972, the month of May has been recognized by the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action (NAHSA) as Better Speech and Hearing Month. This month-long event aimed to increase public awareness about the approximately 1.5 billion individuals globally affected by hearing loss. However, as we move into 2024, this event will take on a new identity—National Speech-Language-Hearing Month.

Why It’s Important

Approximately 430 million individuals globally have hearing loss, and 1.5 billion people worldwide experience some form of hearing impairment. Within the United States, approximately 15% of adults have reported experiencing some level of hearing difficulty based on standard hearing examinations. Therefore, deafness and hearing loss are significant issues that deserve heightened awareness. By 2050, projections suggest that over 700 million people could have disabling hearing loss.

Additionally, with the rising incidence of hearing loss related to noise exposure, the World Health Organization set new standards for safe listening levels in 2022. There has also been a significant rise in speech delays among children following the pandemic, and the aging population is continually at risk of developing hearing loss. These factors highlight why it’s crucial to raise awareness about speech, language, and hearing health.

Why The Change of Hearing Month's Name

The change in terminology from “Better Speech and Hearing Month” to “National Speech-Language-Hearing Month” is a deliberate move to eliminate the word “better.” This word could inadvertently pass judgment on those living with hearing loss or communication disorders, potentially devaluing their worth and abilities. Although the name will be different, the main objectives of this observance remain the same. The goal is to educate the public about communication disorders and to emphasize preventive measures and treatments.

As part of the awareness month, each year, NAHSA rolls out digital campaigns and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to disseminate information through web-based platforms and downloadable bilingual resources. These initiatives aim to reach and engage millions of people. NAHSA is the only organization solely dedicated to public education about communication health. It serves as the consumer affiliate of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. To get involved in National Speech-Language-Hearing Month, you can reach out to your local community center, like Hillcrest Community Center, for information about local events or organizations.

If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about your hearing health or if you wish to schedule a hearing test, please contact Topeka Ear Nose & Throat to set up an appointment.


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