Back in 1927, the month of May was designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month to raise awareness about the causes and treatments of hearing loss and speech impediments. And, on May 21, 1986, President Ronald Regan issues a formal proclamation designating May is the official month to “heighten public awareness about hearing loss and speech disorders.”
President Regan’s proclamation is as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, I RONALD REGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities. (Proclamation 5486, May 21, 1986)
Hearing is one of our most vital senses. It enables you to process everyday sounds to communicate and safely interact in your daily environment. Better hearing gives us a better quality of life.
As hearing diminishes, everyday sounds once taken for granted become less and less apparent until they can no longer be detected at all. When hearing loss goes unrecognized or untreated, more serious consequences can occur not only to the individual’s physical and mental health, but to the communities as well.
Consider a potential automobile accident caused by a driver failing to hear warning signals like sirens, screams or screeching. This puts the hearing impaired driver and the public at risk. There are also the potential dangers of not hearing telephones, doorbells, security alarms or smoke detectors.
Currently in the United States, an estimated 30 million people suffer from varying degrees of hearing impairment. Approximately only 5 million of them wear hearing instruments. Most people with hearing damage deny that they have enough damage to seek help. As America’s baby boomers age, hearing loss has become increasingly prevalent. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, hearing impairment is the third most common problem affecting the baby boom generation.
For most people, hearing loss can start to weaken at 30 years old. Hearing deterioration can be caused from a number of reasons including aging, a virus, high cholesterol, diet, medications, repeated environmental situations such as loud concerts or amplified music or operating loud equipment without proper ear protection.
Hearing loss is becoming increasingly popular at younger age due to the advancement of equipment and amplifications experienced daily. The time exposed to high levels of sound impairs hearing temporarily, but permanently with continued exposure.
|Noise Level||Exposure Limit||Activity|
|90 dB||8 Hours||Lawn Mower, Shop Tools|
|100 dB||2 Hours||Pneumatic Drill, Chainsaw|
|110 dB||30 Minutes||Woodworking, Motorcycle|
|115 dB||15 Minutes||Sandblaster|
|120 dB||Under 15 Minutes||Ambulance Siren, Rock Concert|
|140 dB||Immediately||Jet Engine at Takeoff|
|150 dB||Immediately||Most Firearms|
The good news is that most hearing losses can be effectively treated with amplification. The key for effective treatment and rehabilitation is to identify a hearing loss in the early stages. The best way to identify early signs of hearing loss is to have your haring checked regularly be a professional especially after the age of 50.
- Do you tend to favor one ear over the other?
- Have you been told to turn down the TV (because it is too loud for everyone but yourself)?
- Do you have difficulty following conversations in large groups or noisy places such as restaurants?
- Do you often ask others to repeat themselves, especially young children and women?
- Do you have trouble hearing at a distance, such as in church or movie theaters?
- Have friends or family members commented on your inability to hear?
- Are you over the age of 50 and it has been over one year since you last had your hearing checked?
If you answered yes to one or more of the previous questions, you need a complete hearing evaluation. If you suspect you have hearing loss, you may be pleased to learn that it is just wax build up that can be removed.
During the Month of May, The Hearing Professionals will be celebrating Better Hearing Month. If you suspect that you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss, we urge you to have them come in on May 13 and 14 for a free hearing screening. The screening will tell you if you have a hearing loss or not. Call the location nearest you to set up an appointment.