May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month
The month of May is Better Hearing & Speech Month!
This annual celebration aims towards raising awareness for the many challenges faced by people who are deaf and hard of hearing in their day-to-day lives.
This month is also ideal timing to highlight all the recent improvements in technology and the evolution of educational approaches which help close the communication gap for younger people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Here at CCHAT, we celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month every year to spread awareness about the deaf and hard of hearing community and the difficulties they overcome during their lives.
Why Celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month?
Hearing Loss Is More Common Than You Think
3 in 1,000 babies (about 1%) are born with some form of hearing loss here in the US each year.
Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital birth defects in the entire country. Even if a baby isn’t born with hearing loss, thousands of babies will eventually lose their hearing during their childhood.
If you suspect your child might be deaf or hard of hearing, know that you’re not alone and there are helpful resources.
Takeaways From Better Hearing & Speech Month
What can we learn from this special month?
1. Early Detection Of Hearing Loss Is Essential
Hearing is critical to any child’s well being and for those who are born with hearing loss, it can affect their development if not detected - with risks of falling behind on their learning. Eventually, they may not be able to develop life skills as fast as other children.
Fortunately, babies are now screened for any signs of potential hearing loss when they’re only a few days old.
Having this diagnosis taken care of early on allows the parents to organize audiologists and teachers who will be able to help their child appropriately and provide them with the correct treatment and support.
Remember, it’s never too early to have your child tested for hearing loss. The sooner you get them tested, the easier the rest of their life is going to be.
2. Hearing Loss Isn’t Always Permanent
Due to new advances in technology, there is an amazing variety of assistive hearing technology that can help your child receive, process, and understand the sounds around them.
Two of the most common hearing-assistive technologies are:
- Hearing aids: These are the most popular choice when it comes to assistive devices for hearing loss, especially if your child has mild hearing loss.
- Cochlear implants: These are most suitable for anybody who suffers from severe hearing loss, including those who have been completely deaf since birth.
These technologies allow children who are deaf and hard of hearing to learn to communicate, listen, and talk. When used appropriately and consistently throughout their childhood, they can bridge the gap between communication difficulties and learning essential life skills.
If a child isn’t given the chance to use this sort of hearing assistive technology, they won’t learn and grow at the same pace as their peers.
Not having access to this stepping stone will negatively impact the child as they grow - and they can be left behind as their friends progress through life.
Learning that your child has a hearing disability can be confusing and even heartbreaking for some parents especially if both parents can hear perfectly. This isn’t where you should give up though.
Getting your child diagnosed as early as possible can help them accomplish anything and give them the same start in life as everybody else.
3. Getting The Right Education For Your Child
If your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, assistive technology can make a huge difference to their wellbeing, but it isn’t enough on its own.
Many children who are deaf and hard of hearing will need to learn skills that their peers who have normal hearing can master naturally and without effort.
Like trying to learn a foreign language later in life, children who are deaf and hard of hearing will have to learn how to speak and communicate in a different way to those around them.
It requires a lot of work and dedication, but it isn’t impossible.
With the right support, children with hearing difficulties can overcome these hurdles in life; and with the help of listening and spoken language (LSL) programs, your child can learn the process in a natural way. They’re designed to help children master listening and speaking techniques without having to rely on sign language.
Language doesn’t develop automatically and when a child has a hearing difficulty, it’s important to help guide them through their education with tools and a curriculum that is suitable for their specific needs.
Here At CCHAT, We Always Celebrate Better Hearing & Speech
Since we opened our doors in 1996, we have helped hundreds of children who are deaf and hard of hearing get the resources they need to match the growth of their peers. Our services take time to deliver effectively and require a lot of resources to maintain.
The goal here at CCHAT is to equip children who are deaf and hard of hearing with the right social, academic, and cognitive skills they need to succeed in life.
Every year we take one step further towards our mission - which is why we always celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month.
Despite the current crisis, we’re still serving our students (remotely). By using Zoom, we can offer children the following services with us:
- Deaf and hard of hearing services
- Speech therapy services
- Audiology services
Delivering these services to our community and the children who desperately need them to thrive costs approximately $35,000/year for every student in our program.
Local school districts and early start programs help to fund the financial side of our facility, but a lot of our funding comes from generous donations throughout the year.
This month is about raising awareness for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and helping them overcome key communication challenges - and our work is included in that.
We appreciate every donation we get from all of our supporters, and if you’d like to join us in our mission and help children with hearing loss reach their full potential then please support us with a donation.