Better Speech and Hearing Month is observed in May each year to increase awareness about communication disorders and hearing health. While records about speech and language impairments have appeared in writings for centuries, history was not kind to those presenting with such problems. During the period of the Roman Empire, for instance, people with language impairments like stuttering were placed in cages for entertainment purposes.  Passing citizens would throw coins into the cage to get these people to talk.

It was only much later that speech-language pathology became a respected profession and people were able to start seeking treatment for such disorders without facing stigma. In 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associations (ASHA) – which is America’s leading organization for speech-language pathologist, audiologists, and speech/language/hearing scientists – founded the Better Speech and Hearing Month, to promote understanding about speech and hearing disorders, to prevent hearing loss, and encourage people to seek treatment for hearing, communication disorders and speech-related issues.

Did you know that most audiologists have their undergraduate degree in communication disorders?  When I started my college education in 1979, audiology was a master’s level profession.  Attending the University of Iowa, I took classes with students that would later become speech pathologists as well as audiologists.  Not only did I take classes in hearing science, anatomy and physics of sound, but also studied stuttering, phonetics, articulation disorder, etc.  It was not until I went to the University of Denver that I focused my studies on hearing and received my master’s degree in audiology.

Currently, audiology is a doctorate level profession.  When my boys were old enough to do their own homework, I went back to school. I attended A.T.Still University which is a division of Arizona School of Health Sciences.  Thank goodness for online classes and after two years of study I am proud to be called “Dr. Oden”.

Dr. Mussler’s road to audiology was a bit different than mine. Her undergraduate studies from University of North Carolina Greensboro in Communication Science and Disorders are like my undergraduate studies at University of Iowa. However, she went directly to East Tennessee State University to complete her doctorate in audiology. Both of us completed eight years of study.

So, for Better Speech and Hearing Month the World Health Origination (WHO) as well as the National Institute of Health recommends having your hearing evaluated as part of routine health checks or combined with other health interventions (e.g., general physical check-up, eye screening, dental care, etc.). In past articles we have discussed Knowing your Hearing Number.  For a review, please visit our website or dig out a past copy of a Senior Savvy.

We both agree that the profession of audiology is amazing.  Not only the science behind what we do and why, but the ability to have such a positive effect on someone’s life is what it is all about. We could not do what we do without the support of the team at Hearing Solutions of North Carolina.

If you would like more information about Better Speech and Hearing Month visit our website at www.hearingsolutionsofnc.com, like us on Facebook or give us a call at 704-633-0023.  Jane, Cheryl, Jamie, Diane, Dr Mussler and I look forward to seeing you soon.