Written by Krishna Sabaratnam
This month we recognize and celebrate the millions of people around the world affected by hearing and speech impairments. The World Health Organization has declared that by 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people will have some form of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.
During Better Hearing and Speech Awareness Month, it’s crucial to educate, learn and address the importance of hearing and speech health. If you or someone you know is facing hearing or speech loss, take the necessary steps to examine and understand these challenges, and seek the support you need.
Let’s look at some of the most common signs that indicate the presence of hearing and speech disorders, empowering individuals to seek timely support and understanding.
Speech difficulties come in a wide range of signs and experiences. It can be in the form of articulating sentences and sounds, stuttering and repetition, and challenges of the quality in the pitch and volume of your voice.
Delayed or Difficulty Understanding Spoken Language
People may ask others to repeat themselves, have trouble following conversations, and may misinterpret what is being said in a one-to-one or social setting. When people experience delays or difficulties in understanding spoken language, it can create barriers to effective communication. Parents and caretakers need to create a safe environment for the individual that can help prevent feelings of anxiety, loneliness and in some cases depression.
Nonverbal cues can provide valuable insights into the presence of hearing or speech disorders. It bubbles in many ways through body language signs such as facial expressions and reading lips, social withdrawal in group conversations, and the need for personal space.
Recognizing the signs of hearing and speech loss is crucial for timely intervention and appropriate support. Seek the consultation of a qualified speech-language audiologist or pathologist for a comprehensive evaluation. Early detection of these experiences can greatly improve the chances of successful management. Let’s all take the time to understand and support individuals on their journey to a better quality of life.