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NIDCD celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 1, 2014
Better Hearing & Speech Month, Communication Disorders are Treatable

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), encourages individuals, parents, and caregivers to know the signs of hearing loss, language impairment, and other communication disorders. The NIDCD joins the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in observing Better Hearing and Speech Month. Each May, since 1927, ASHA has led efforts to raise awareness about communication disorders that take different forms and span all ages.

Communication disorders are treatable. However, the longer they are overlooked or ignored, the harder they can be to manage. Early detection and treatment of speech, language, and hearing disorders contributes to better quality of life, shorter treatment periods, and reduced costs for individuals and society.

ASHA and several partner organizations have developed new resources for consumers and health professionals as part of a public awareness campaign, Identify the SignsThis link will open a non-federal website in a new window.. The campaign offers information about what parents should look for in the communication development of very young children, how to identify the signs of hearing loss that may explain why a spouse or partner is having trouble with a conversation, and signs of various communication disorders that affect all ages. The national campaign also features television, radio, and print public service announcements in both English and Spanish.

The NIDCD conducts and supports research in communication disorders including the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Research supported by the NIDCD has led to better understanding of communication disorders, as well as better diagnostic tools and treatments.

The NIDCD also has publications to help you identify communication disorders that could affect hearing, speech, and language at different stages in life. These publications include information about current communication disorders research supported by the NIDCD. 

Hearing Loss and Older Adults (Updated!)

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults. Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor's advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. Read more.

Otosclerosis (Updated!)

Otosclerosis is a condition caused by abnormal bone remodeling in the middle ear. The abnormal remodeling disrupts the ability of sound to travel from the middle ear to the inner ear. Otosclerosis affects more than three million Americans. White, middle-aged women are most at risk. Read more.

Additional publications addressing communication disorders in children and adults include:

Visit the NIDCD website for more information on hearing, voice, speech, and language or contact the NIDCD Information Clearinghouse at (800) 241-1044 or (800) 241-1055 (TTY) or by email at

To learn more about Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit the ASHA websiteThis link will open a non-federal website in a new window..

Last Updated Date: 
May 1, 2014