Hearing Disorders Merit Early Detection

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Eyre McDonald For The Register-Guard

Imagine not being able to communicate simple thoughts such as "Thank you" or "I love you." For millions of Americans with speech, language or hearing disorders, this is reality. For them, words don't come easily or at all.

Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey recently declared May as Better Hearing and Speech Month at the Eugene Hearing & Speech Center.

Better Hearing and Speech Month has been observed since 1927 all over the United States.

Speech/language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing impaired hope to raise awareness of speech, language and hearing disorders that affect more than 42 million Americans.

Mayor Torrey is the honorary chair of this year's Eugene Hearing and Speech Center's preschool campaign to help the children in our area receive services they need.

As the mayor himself has noted, he also is a consumer who has needed the services of our audiologists for his hearing concerns.

These disorders are known to have an isolating effect in school, society and work. People affected by these disorders can't speak well to advocate for their needs.

Left untreated, children can have great difficulty in being ready for school, in achieving literacy and in social interaction. They can be the target of unnecessary bullying or isolation.

Three specific areas of concern are especially worth noting.

Early identification of communication problems is the greatest help for small children. Trust your instincts. Check with your physician, audiologist or speech/language pathologist.

There are specific speech, language and hearing guidelines offered to families and teachers regarding development and identification of potential concerns. All newborn infants are now required to get a routine hearing screening before leaving the hospital. This service has been provided locally for years. Early identification can allow a child to become an effective communicator and future productive citizen.

Aphasia, a language disorder caused by stroke or traumatic injury to the brain, affects approximately 1 million people in the United States. …