Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month!

May 2, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication, swallowing and hearing disorders across the lifespan and to highlight the various services that speech-language pathologists and audiologists can provide when a person experiences a life-altering condition.  

Michigan Medicine employs more than 50 speech-language pathologists and 45 audiologists who work within a wide range of inpatient and ambulatory specialties.

Speech-language pathologists work with individuals of all ages to improve their speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and feeding/swallowing skills. A person’s communication skills are critical at each stage of life — for young children, as a strong foundation for language and literacy; for school-aged children, as a requirement for academic and social success; and for adults, as a key part of their career and personal relationships. 

Communication and swallowing disorders may occur for a variety of reasons. In children, this may be due to low birth weight, congenital syndromes, developmental disorders, and injuries or illnesses. In adults, they are common in those who have had a stroke, brain injury, head and neck cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Although the specific challenges that people experience can vary significantly, quality of life can improve with the help of a speech-language pathologist.

Audiologists specialize in the assessment, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hearing, balance and other related disorders.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions that Americans experience and can occur at any point across the lifespan. Hearing loss may be due to exposure to excessive noise (e.g., from noisy occupations or leisure activities), ear infections and even certain medications or medical treatments — among other reasons. 

Audiologists can manage hearing loss in several ways, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices (like headphones), and cochlear implants. Audiologists can also assist individuals with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and those who have dizziness and balance issues, which may originate from a problem in the inner or middle ear.

The theme for this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month is Building a Strong Foundation.  

“Communication disorders are among the most common conditions that people across the age span will experience — affecting tens of millions of Americans each year. Yet many don’t know just how treatable these disorders can be, which is a missed opportunity for those who stand to vastly improve their quality of life with care,” said Judy Rich, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, 2022 ASHA president.

Michigan Medicine is home to a group of highly trained speech-language pathologists and audiologists who stand ready to partner with you in developing a plan to assess your individual concerns and help you achieve a better quality of life. 

For additional information and resources, please check out our websites at https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/rehabilitation/speechlanguage or https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/audiology.  

Stay tuned to additional Headlines articles throughout the month of May as we take a deeper dive into specific service lines within the department of Speech-Language Pathology.