Better Hearing & Speech Month 2019 “Communication Across the Lifespan”

Every May since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), observes Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), to “raise awareness about hearing and speech problems, encouraging people to analyze their own hearing and speech, and to take action if they think there might be a problem.”

According to the Center for Hearing Loss and Communication, 48 million Americans are affected by hearing loss which can begin at birth or develop at any age. ASHA reports that 40 million Americans have some sort of a communication disorder which can either be a speech or a language disorder. A speech disorder occurs “when a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently or has problems with their voice.” A language disorder occurs “when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language).”

ASHA encourages the public to become aware of the signs of communication disorders and to seek early treatment when possible. Below are some of the signs. For a complete list and for more information, visit:

Language Disorder Signs

  • Does not smile or interact with others (birth or older)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)

Speech Disorder Signs

  • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)
  • Speech breaks while trying to say a word- “—boy” for “boy”
  • Shows frustration when trying to get words out.

Hearing Loss Signs

  • Shows a lack of attention to sounds (birth -1 year)
  • Pulls or scratches at his/her ears.
  • Is socially isolated and unhappy at school.