A new, nationwide effort to educate the public about communication disorders was recently launched by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—a professional association of which the Audiologists at the Oklahoma Hearing Center are members. Called Identify the Signs, this campaign specifically aims to help people recognize the early warning signs of communication disorders.
This topic couldn’t be more timely—or more important. An estimated 40 million Americans have trouble speaking or hearing due to a communication disorder. Millions more family members and friends are also impacted. Here in Oklahoma, there are parents reading this whose children are struggling to speak or understand language; spouses living with partners whose hearing is deteriorating; and co-workers, neighbors and others who know someone that needs help but don’t know what to do.
Identify the Signs offers tools for change that we at OHC deeply support. With 35 years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, the Oklahoma Hearing Center has seen the debilitating effects of these issues when left unaddressed. Too often, people wrestle with these challenges for years because they fail to receive proper and timely treatment.
Early detection of speech, language, and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social, and career outcomes—and improving one’s quality of life at any age.
For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unable to identify the warning signs or they dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of speech-language pathologists and audiologists by ASHA reported significant parental delays in getting help for children with communication difficulties. This is just one example of the missed opportunities that commonly occur with communication disorders.
Through a series of TV, radio, print, digital public service announcements, the public can learn about the warning signs of communication disorders and get connected to professional help. We at OHC encourage you to visit our website— www.okhc.org —and share the information and resources you find there. Above all, we hope you will seek help if you suspect that you or a loved one show signs of having a disorder.
Every day, the Audiologists at the Oklahoma Hearing Center see in their work that untreated communication disorders often lead to larger academic, social and developmental issues. Early diagnosis is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse their impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible.