May is officially Better Hearing and Speech Month. This is the perfect time to take a moment to think about how communication is essential in day-to-day life. Answering a phone call, listening to a lecture, talking with loved ones, ordering a meal, and laughing at a joke: all of these activities involve communication. Speech, language, hearing, reading, writing, listening, gesturing, and facial expressions are all components of communication. Audiologists and Speech-language Pathologists are professionals who help people communicate every day through evaluating and treating hearing, balance, communication, and swallowing disorders.
Education and Prevention
Arming yourself with information to avoid communication impairments is crucial to a long, healthy and happy communication experience through the lifespan! For example, did you know that one of the leading causes of communication impairments is stroke? More than 795,000 people experience a stroke every year in the United States. And strokes are not selective – they can happen at all genders, ethnicities and at any age. Consequently, it’s very important to adopt a healthy lifestyle to help prevent and lower your risk.
Some simple modifications to your lifestyle can include exercising, refraining from smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and eating a healthy diet that avoids processed foods. The next crucial step is early recognition. According to the CDC, strokes addressed within 3 hours of the onset of initial symptoms result in less disability 3 months post stroke when compared to those who delay care.
Do you know the stroke symptoms and what to do if one is suspected? Think: act FAST:
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weaker?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
- Time to act is now if you see any of these signs! Call 9-1-1 right away.
Now go spread the word!