Connecting People | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Connecting People | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

In Communication, Hearing Health, hearing loss by Candace Wawra

Every year, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) celebrates Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) to help spread awareness of communication disorders—like hearing loss—and the life-changing treatments that are available.

This year’s theme is “Connecting People,” and we can’t think of a better theme for 2022! With things opening up again after the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all trying to get out and reconnect with friends and loved ones, as well as strangers! We’re traveling again, and meeting people from all walks of life, building connections that can brighten a moment or even last a lifetime.

This is what treating hearing loss is really about: maintaining the connections we have, and maintaining the ability to build new connections! Human beings are social animals, and our brains are wired to interact with others. It will be a long time before the effects of the last two years of isolation are fully understood, but what’s important now is to do whatever we can to connect with others.

For many of us, that might mean treating hearing loss. For others, it might mean protecting our hearing as we go out and enjoy live music, motorsports, or other loud activities. Whatever the case may be, it’s good to remember that paying attention to our hearing health is ultimately about maintaining our connections to other people!

A New Name?

ASHA has been celebrating BHSM since 1972, which means this year is the 50th anniversary of Better Hearing and Speech Month! ASHA is considering changing the name of BHSM. If you have an idea for a new name, or want to make a case for keeping the name as it is, send an email to

Hearing Aids and Connection

Hearing aids are still the best and the most common treatment for hearing loss. If you think you might have hearing loss, celebrate BHSM by taking charge of your hearing health and making an appointment for a hearing test! If hearing aids are recommended, it is important to start wearing them right away.

Hearing aids help prevent a host of complications that can arise from untreated hearing loss. Many of these complications are actually caused by the disconnection from others that hearing loss can bring with it. Loneliness, depression, decreased physical activity, and even an earlier onset of cognitive decline and dementia are all potential consequences of untreated hearing loss, and likely have more to do with the lack of social connection that hearing loss tends to engender, more than with the direct relationship between hearing and physical health.

When we’re new to hearing loss, one of the first things we notice is the difficulty we have carrying on a conversation when there is background noise. This makes social gatherings and outings much more difficult, and a lot less fun. While we strain to hear what others are saying, we become mentally exhausted. Anyone who has lived with hearing loss for a while can tell you just how fatiguing it is!

Nearly all hearing aids today incorporate powerful DSP (digital signal processing) that separates speech from background sound. In some cases and for some people, this can actually increase speech intelligibility in noisy environments to better than normal hearing.

Unfortunately, too many people avoid getting hearing aids until their hearing is “really bad,” or never get them at all. Imagine the years of enjoyment they’re missing out on when they can’t hear their relatives at holiday gatherings, or can’t hear their friends on a night out. All too often, people give up trying to hear altogether, and some even start to decline invitations. It’s hard to see, at the beginning stages of hearing loss, just how much it might impact our lives if we let it control our behavior for years on end. Each day brings a new opportunity for hearing loss to guide us in a slightly different direction than we would otherwise go. Over time, we’re on a completely different path, and we might wonder how we got there!

By getting a set of hearing aids, you’re not only taking charge of your hearing, you’re taking back control of your life. When you can hear what you need to hear, then you get to decide where to put your attention! You can build and maintain connections with the people around you as easily as ever, in spite of hearing loss.

Make an appointment for a hearing test today and find out how hearing aids can help you connect!