The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month, an annual observance sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1927. During May, ASHA, the NIDCD, and other organizations raise awareness about communication disorders, which take many forms and span all ages. This year’s theme is “Early Intervention Counts.”
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.
NIDCD-funded researchers have made significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders, leading to important public health benefits. For example, NIDCD-supported researchers demonstrated the importance of early interventions and cost-effective methods for newborn hearing screening. These research advances, coupled with the efforts of many federal and state agencies, paved the way for universal newborn hearing screening to be adopted as an important part of public health. Further, federal Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EDHI) legislation was passed in 1999. As a consequence, today, nearly all newborns are screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital.
NIDCD scientists are also exploring ways to improve the early identification and treatment of stuttering and to identify its causes. These researchers have discovered a number of genes associated with stuttering.
In addition to supporting research advances, the NIDCD provides a wide range of science-based information on communication disorders, including our newly developed Better Hearing and Speech Month sharable image (also available in a Spanish-language version). We encourage you to use and share our information this May and beyond, and help raise awareness that communication disorders are treatable. Early intervention counts!
Information on hearing and speech disorders:
- Do you need a hearing test?
- Age-related hearing loss
- Spasmodic dysphonia
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Specific language impairment (SLI)
- Speech and language developmental milestones
- It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing.®
For more information about Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit ASHA’s website.