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NIDCD Observes Celebrations for Better Hearing and Speech, Tinnitus Awareness this May

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders joins the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) to raise awareness of conditions affecting our ability to communicate.

ASHA has recognized May as Better Hearing and Speech Month since 1927. This is an effort to educate the public about available treatments to improve the quality of life of those living with speaking, understanding, or hearing problems. This year’s theme is Connecting People Through Communication.

ATA has declared May 13-19 as Tinnitus Awareness Week, an initiative to educate the public about tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. The theme this year is Carrying the Torch for Silence.

In the United States, approximately 36 million adults report some degree of hearing loss, and roughly 25 million have experienced tinnitus. Also, approximately 7.5 million people have trouble using their voices, and between 6 and 8 million people have some form of language impairment.

“Our ability to communicate with one another is central to who we are as individuals and how we take part in our families, our jobs, and our communities,” said NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. “With this in mind, the NIDCD has upheld a long tradition of supporting research that will lead to better ways to diagnose and treat communication disorders, with our primary goal being to prevent or lessen their effects.”

Available Resources

The NIDCD has created a new publication, titled Assistive Devices for People with Hearing, Voice, Speech, or Language Disorders, which describes technologies that are available to help people with communication disorders to participate more fully in their daily lives.

Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. Read the NIDCD fact sheet Tinnitus to learn how this condition is diagnosed and what treatments are available.

You can read more science-based health information on hearing or voice, speech, and language disorders online or call the NIDCD Information Clearinghouse at (800) 241-1044 or (800) 241-1055 (TTY) for a free copy of available publications.

ASHA has a website available to professionals, advocates, and the public to celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month. Also, check ATA’s website for Tinnitus Awareness Week 2012.