May is national Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), an observance founded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to raise awareness about communication disorders and encourage individuals to have their hearing tested and take action if they are experiencing vocal concerns. This year, the theme for BHSM is “Connecting People”!

Hearing loss is one of the most common, chronic conditions in the United States today. In fact, nearly 48 million Americans experience some form of hearing loss, and 1 in 5 individuals above the age of 11 experience hearing loss severe enough to hinder their communication. Common causes for hearing loss are damages to the ear, ear infections, and abnormal bone growths. While most of these causes are caused by outside forces, such as excessive noise exposure or illnesses that disrupt the ear function, some causes are genetic. Hearing loss can occur at any age, this is why early detection is important!

The physicians and doctors of audiology at The Florida Center for Hearing Health, an extension of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, work together to identify the range of the patient’s hearing and provide a plan for preventative care, restorative treatments, and/or hearing aid options.

In addition to hearing, vocal health is another aspect of communication that can compromise your quality of life if you’re experiencing speech issues. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, there are about 17.9 million adults in the United States who currently report problems with their voice. It is important to talk to a specialist about any uncomfortable symptoms you may be feeling in your voice or throat area such as a sore throat, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing. Many of these symptoms could be caused by internal or environmental issues such as allergies, illnesses, overuse of vocal cords or acid reflux disease.

The Florida Center for Voice & Swallowing, another extension of Florida E.N.T. & Allergy, has physicians and speech pathologists with years of educational and field experience who are able to diagnose a range of voice problems and are dedicated to helping patients understand more about voice function and health. They are also able to provide the best treatment and management plans for any underlying causes such as voice disorders and swallowing disorders.

The way we utilize technology allows us to communicate with one another at any given moment, without hearing or speaking. However, we can’t deny that speaking and listening are still two of the most common and efficient forms of communication used daily. Florida E.N.T. & Allergy’s goal is to help raise awareness and provide treatment for those experiencing hearing and/or speech disorders.