‘Better Hearing and Speech Month’ observed in May; Learn to listen
Editor’s note: The monthly
To Your Heath column is a venue for Jefferson County Health Center to provide health information that will benefit The Fairfield Ledger’s readers. To suggest ideas for future articles or to obtain information, call Jefferson County Health Center community relations manager Ginny Hughes at 469-4198.
May 1 kicked off Better Hearing and Speech Month. You probably know someone with a hearing or speech problem. After all, 40 million Americans have a speech-language disorder. Many of them are kids who get picked on, bullied, or left out. Adults may also suffer from a speech-language disorder due to a stroke or other illness. It’s an important time to learn how you can help.
Some people may stutter or have trouble finding their words. But what they have to say is just as important as everyone else. Others may have a hard time understanding you. But they want to participate like everyone else. What can you do to support them?
Here are some general tips on how to communicate with someone who may have difficulties speaking, hearing or comprehending what you saying:
When speaking —
• Make sure the other person knows you are speaking to him or her.
• Turn toward the person so he or she can see your face.
• Keep your words and sentences simple.
• Speak in a quiet area, if possible.
• Give time for the person to process what you’ve said.
When listening —
• Be patient and let the person talk.
• Repeat back what you have heard.
• Make sure the person knows you want to understand him or her.
• Maintain eye contact and listen carefully.
• If necessary, ask the person to write down what he or she wants to say.
If you know someone having listening or speaking problems, a Speech Language Pathologist can help. A speech therapist can work with children and adults who are having trouble with a wide variety of problems associated with communicating, thinking, or swallowing that may be present due to developmental delays, disease, illness or injury.
Have a conversation with your health care provider about your concerns and to obtain a referral for a speech therapy evaluation, or call the Physical Therapy Department at the Jefferson County Health Center to ask questions or get more information about speech therapy services. 641-469-4295. A Speech Therapist can help with more than just speech difficulties.
Jennifer Howe, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at Jefferson County Health Center.