Created in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), May is Better Hearing & Speech Month. It’s an annual occasion designed to raise awareness and encourage the public to take action on their hearing and speech problems.
More than 48 million Americans of all ages suffer from some level of hearing loss. The most common cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. Other causes include viruses or diseases, certain medications, aging, Meniere’s disease, injury to the ear, infection and impacted earwax.
Though you might not notice very mild hearing loss, there are signs that you may have this condition. You may have hearing loss if:
- You ask people to repeat what they say.
- Have trouble hearing in groups or noisy settings.
- Need to turn up the volume on the TV or music.
- Have trouble hearing phone conversations.
- Cannot hear someone talking behind you.
- Have ringing in your ears.
If you are showing signs of hearing loss, the next step is to have your hearing tested by an audiologist. You can also let people know you need them to speak slower and more clearly, ask people to face you when they speak, and try to eliminate noise or have conversations in a quiet place.
There are also steps you can take to maintain your hearing health. They include choosing quiet activities for your spare time if you are exposed to loud noises at work, wear earplugs when you know you’ll be exposed to loud noises and turn the volume down when you can.
If you are noticing problems with your hearing or suspect a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss, heed the message of Better Hearing & Speech Month and contact an audiologist for a hearing exam.