Every May, the nation's attention is focused on hearing loss during Better Hearing and Speech Month. This is the month that there is a major push to get more people screened for hearing loss. Newspapers, magazines, and health publications online and offline carry notices about this annual event. Organizations team up to get the word out to the public about hearing loss and to offer free or reduced price hearing tests and assistance in obtaining hearing aids.
Better Hearing and Speech Month has been around since 1927, and continues to expand as more speech and hearing loss organizations join the Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month. For example, in 1982 the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLA) joined the council.
With hearing loss becoming more common in the United States as younger people lose hearing due to noise exposure and the baby boomers age, Better Hearing and Speech Month has become even more important as a means of reaching those reluctant to have their hearing tested. In 2000, HLA launched the first National Day of Hearing Screening (NDHS) in May.
Why did HLA initiate a national day of hearing testing? HLA publicly stated: HLA " is determined to eradicate the stigma of admitting a hearing problem." Among other issues, too many people wait too long before seeking help for a hearing loss.
In addition, the web site of the American Speech Language Hearing Association(ASHA) has all the materials, including press releases, fact sheets, and public service announcements that health professionals and educators need to promote Better Hearing and Speech Month, and inform people about hearing loss. Many organizations reproduce and distribute these materials in both print and online formats. ASHA has a page devoted to BHSM (www.asha.org/bhsm), and a separate sales site for BHSM products (www.bhsmproducts.com).