May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). This is an annual observance that has been recognized since 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The aim of BHSM is to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems, encouraging people to analyze their own hearing and speech, and to take action if they think there might be a problem. For 2016, the theme is “Communication Takes Care.” There are many treatment options that can then be given to improve the quality of life in people with communication problems.
Speech and language disorders are among the most common conditions in children. A number of recent studies have shown that these disorders are on the rise in the United States. Untreated communication disorders can lead to problems with reading, writing, learning, and overall academic achievement. They also may lead to problems with social skills. Early detection is the key to a shorter, more effective, and less expensive course of treatment. Ideally, treatment begins long before a child enters school, so parents should not delay if they have concerns. However, treatment at any age is critical.
Along with that, hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions facing older adults. Unfortunately, only about 20–30% of people who could benefit from treatment actually seek help. Untreated hearing loss is associated with depression and social isolation, fatigue, and even earlier onset of dementia than in individuals with no hearing loss. Treatment can significantly improve quality of life both for the person suffering from hearing loss and for his or her significant other. In children and teens, hearing loss is increasingly common. One concern is noise-induced hearing loss caused by unsafe listening to personal tech devices such as mp3 players, smartphones, or tablets. Early diagnosis is critical, as even mild hearing loss can impact a child’s development and lead to academic and social difficulties.
The ability to speak, hear, and understand language and conversation are central to almost every aspect of daily life. Yet, these skills are often taken for granted until someone loses them.
The Speech and Language Pathologists at Decatur County Memorial Hospital treat young children through older adults, and are dedicated to helping each patient achieve his/her optimal level of functioning. Evaluation and treatment assists in learning to listen, follow instructions, and functionally communicate a person’s wants, needs, and feelings appropriately. Our Speech Therapists also provide feeding and swallowing evaluations and treatments for children and adults with feeding difficulties and/or oral motor weakness/deficits. Assistance can also be provided with choosing augmentative or alternative communication, such as sign language or a communication device.
Our Hearing Center at Decatur County Memorial Hospital is staffed by a licensed Audiologist. The department serves patients ranging in age from newborn to older adults. We offer a full line of hearing tests including Tympanometry, Audiology Screening, Comprehensive Hearing Evaluations, and Hearing Aide Evaluations. Other services including Hearing Aide orders and repairs, custom protective ear plugs, and swim plugs.
Our Speech and Hearing staff are licensed and certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and licensed by the Health Professions Bureau/Indiana Board Examiners
If you have any questions about Decatur County Memorial Hospital’s Audiology or Speech Therapy Services, please call 812-663-1119 or visit www.dcmh.net