BUCKHANNON, W.VA. – This month, WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital is recognizing Better Hearing and Speech Month, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems and to encourage people to think about their own hearing and get their hearing checked.
At least 46 million people in the U.S. have a hearing or other communication disorder that affects how they engage with their environments. These disorders can occur at any age and in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Early identification and intervention for hearing loss is important. Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realize that they are missing certain sounds and words.
Checking one’s hearing is the first step toward addressing the issue. Hearing, voice, speech, and language disorders exact a far-reaching toll on public health and individual well-being.
Speech disorders and related conditions also affect adults and children — with or without hearing problems. By the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders, usually marked by difficulty pronouncing specific sounds. Stuttering, a disorder affecting speech fluency, affects approximately 5-10 percent of children in the U.S.