Let’s Celebrate Our
TSHA’s Guide to Celebrating
May Is Better Hearing
and Speech Month
Do your friends, coworkers, family members,
or community members know what you do?
REALLY know what you do?
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
(MBHSM) and is the perfect time to share
what it is that our professions do.
Let’s Celebrate Our
TSHA’s Guide to Celebrating
May Is Better Hearing
and Speech Month
Better Hearing and Speech Month began in 1927.
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists
use this month to raise public awareness and to
educate and inform the public of hearing, speech,
and language disorders that affect people across the
country and what professionals people should see
if they have a concern.
This resource is designed to make the task of raising
public awareness seem somewhat simpler. We
hope it will inspire you to create your own ideas,
provide you with information and ideas to celebrate
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and raise
others’ awareness of communication disorders and
2 Let’s Celebrate Our Professions
Did You Know? 23.
According to the American Speech- 25. Stroke
Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Web 26. Stuttering
site <www.asha.org>, a speech-language 27. Traumatic Brain Injury
pathologist (SLP) helps “people develop their 28. Vocal Nodules
communication abilities and treat speech, 29. Vocal Fold Paralysis
language, swallowing, and voice disorders. 30. Voice Problems
Their services include prevention, identifica-
tion, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilita-
tion of communication disorders.” They According to the ASHA Web site, an audiol-
have master’s degrees, certification (CCC, ogist is a “hearing healthcare professional
Certificate of Clinical Competence) through who specializes in prevention, identification
ASHA, and in Texas are licensed by the State and assessment of hearing disorders.” They
Board of Examiners for Speech-Language have master’s degrees, certification (CCC,
Pathology and Audiology. Certificate of Clinical Competence) through
ASHA, and in Texas are licensed by the State
The following are topics that speech-lan- Board of Examiners for Speech-Language
guage pathologists may address: Pathology and Audiology.
1. AAC — Augmentative and Alternative
Communication The following are topics that audiologists
2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) may address:
3. Aphasia 1. Adult Hearing Tests
4. Apraxia in Adults 2. Assistive Listening Devices
5. Articulation Disorders 3. Auditory Neuropathy
6. Attention Deficit Disorder 4. Auditory Processing
7. Childhood Apraxia of Speech 5. Cerumen Management
8. Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation 6. Cochlear Implant Assessment, Fitting,
9. Dementia Programming, and Rehabilitation
10. Dysarthria 7. Conductive Hearing Loss
11. Early Literacy 8. Hearing Aid Prescribing and Fitting
12. Feeding and Swallowing Disorders 9. Mixed Hearing Loss
13. Head and Neck Cancer (laryngeal can- 10. Pediatric Hearing Tests
cer, oral cancer, and subsequent swal- 11. Otoacoustic Emissions
lowing problems) 12. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
14. Hearing Loss in Childhood and Adults 13. Tinnitus
15. Huntington’s Disease 14. Vestibular Disorders
16. Language Based Learning Difficulties
17. Language Delays and Disorders
18. Long-Term Recovery after Stroke
19. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
20. Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement
21. Right Hemisphere Brain Damage
22. Selective Mutism
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month 3
Just the Facts!
• Over 42 million Americans are affected by a communication disorder.
• About 30 million people in the US have some form of reduced
• Over 1 million children in the United States have some
type of a hearing loss.
• Three in 1,000 babies born have a significant hearing loss.
• Any degree of hearing loss can be educationally harmful.
• Hearing loss is the most common congenital disorder.
• No child is too young for a hearing test.
• An estimated 6 million children under age 18 have a speech
or language disorder.
• Approximately 1 million people in the United States have aphasia.
• Ten percent of children entering first grade have a moderate to
severe speech disorder.
• Seven and one-half million people have voice disorders.
4 Let’s Celebrate Our Professions
How am I going to resource. Once they know what you do they
may not use your idea at that time, but may
celebrate? need you at a later date. Return their calls or
e-mails promptly. Make sure you are pre-
pared. Have a fact sheet readily available
about communication disorders or the spe-
We can all buy little things to
cific story you have offered. Newspaper
use during May from the
reporters will want pictures, so have some
TSHA or ASHA Web sites, but… let’s also
ready to offer. Interviews from the media
get our stories out to the media!
may be intimidating. You must get to “the
Maybe you want to contact the media to point” quickly so that when you are edited
share your story. It may seem overwhelming the facts are there.
but here are some tips to help you do it!
Contact your legislator!
Tips To Successfully Tell
Why not drop a letter to
Your Story your legislator or invite
him/her to your place of
business (with the appro-
(Adapted from “Tips for Telling
Your Story to the Media” ASHA priate consents from families, administrators,
Leader, February 4, 2003) etc.)? You may find your legislators at
<www.capitol.state.tx.us>. The TSHA Web
Identify those newspaper or TV reporters site <www.txsha.org> also has information
who write about health or educational regarding contacting legislators. You may
issues. They will be your best resources. also find your senators and representatives
Before contacting the media, develop your at <www.capitoladvantage.com>. Click on
story idea. It is important to personalize your “search by state.” When writing state sena-
story. Plan your story from the perspective of tors and representatives, address the
a person who is not necessarily interested in letter in this way:
communication disorders or one who does
not have a great deal of knowledge about The Honorable (insert state Senator name)
them. Focus on the pieces of your story that Texas Senate
will be of interest to those people. Find out PO Box 12068
what stories particular reporters have written Austin, TX 78711-2068
in the past, so that your story is not a The Honorable (insert Representative name)
“repeat.” Find out about their deadlines and Texas House of Representatives
give them plenty of time to complete your PO Box 2910
story. Don’t wait until the last minute. You Austin, TX 78768-2910
must not be shy about what you do. Are you
doing something very unique? Or is it part of
a new trend? If one reporter turns you
down, offer your story to another. Don’t give
up. Make yourself available to them as a
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month 5
Celebration Ideas for May 8. Have the kids create a school newsletter
to be distributed in May.
9. Have a contest for students or cowork-
ers (e.g., guess how loud certain envi-
ronmental sounds are, guess the list of
acronyms used in the profession) and
the prize could be a BHSM pen.
1. Have a listening contest. Play a couple
of sounds over the PA system in the 10. Have a scavenger hunt with items that
morning and have the classes work pertain to speech-language pathology
together to guess the sounds. and audiology and use them as teaching
tools in explaining communication dis-
2. Older children may enjoy a hearing orders.
conservation activity. Using a sound
level meter go to different areas of the 11. Create or purchase brochures or hand-
school and see how loud it is. outs with information about speech,
language, and hearing disorders.
3. Have children receiving speech-lan- Distribute them to daycare centers,
guage services make gifts for the teach- doctors’ offices, private schools, and
ers and administrators and attach some psychologists’ offices. Brochures can be
information about communication dis- found at low or no cost through organi-
orders and speech-language patholo- zations such as ASHA, TSHA, AG Bell,
gists and audiologists. Stuttering Foundation of America, and
National Institute on Deafness and
4. Have children read public service Other Communication Disorders
announcements (PSAs) or well- (NIDCD).
referenced factoids over the PA
system every morning. 12. Provide an in-service to school adminis-
trators about what you do. The in-serv-
5. Have children help create bulletin ice should discuss what communication
boards in the hallways about communi- disorders are, who SLPs and audiolo-
cation. How many ways can you com- gists are, and, with appropriate consent,
municate? tell the story of a child or family with
whom you have worked.
6. Have contests in the classroom where
the kids try to communicate when pre- 13. Talk with hospitals, police, and fire fight-
sented with certain barriers. er groups about communicating with
people who have hearing loss.
7. Coordinate with a bookstore or public
library to present in the children’s
department to parents. (Use topics such
as prereading skills and the role of the
SLP in literacy.) Read a story to the kids.
6 Let’s Celebrate Our Professions
14. Host a children’s health fair with several 22. Donate a copy of your favorite
speech-language pathologists and audi- children’s book to your school or
ologists. Provide free speech and lan- public library with a note inside
guage screenings, hearing screenings (if commemorating the occasion.
possible), and written information on
hearing loss, ear infections, and hearing 23. Buy Shoppe TSHA items to give to
conservation and information on your colleagues, patients, and families.
speech-language disorders in adults. <www.txsha.org/products/tsha_prod-
15. Display posters appropriate to your set-
ting, adult or pediatric, about pertinent
topics (e.g., stroke prevention, prelitera- Resources Information and
16. Send daily/weekly e-mails to coworkers
with “facts of the day” related to com-
17. Proudly wear or use products from
Shoppe TSHA and when people
ask about TSHA tell them about the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association
18. Put doughnuts or another enticing treat Visit all of the vendors at Convention to see
in a common work area (e.g., teacher’s their possible merchandise for May is Better
lounge) and attach information about Hearing and Speech Month.
Sample public service announcements
19. Contact a local radio station with a PSA. are available from TSHA and on the ASHA
Samples of these are available through Web site.
TSHA and ASHA. A PSA is generic and
not an advertisement for a specific facil- Public Relations Guide available through
ity. Providing them with TSHA’s phone ASHA, 800/498-2071
number or email address at the end in
order to locate a speech or hearing pro- ASHA Leader, February 4, 2003
fessional is best.
Communication: The Human Connection
20. Contact your local newspaper or TV [Film]. (Available through ASHA, 800/498-
reporter for a story in May related to 2071)
21. Talk with high school classes or job fairs Association <www.asha.org>
about the professions of speech-lan- <www.betterhearingandspeech.com>
guage pathology and audiology. 1/866-234-2476
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month 7
Start planning early so that
your May is a success!
Please write or e-mail us and tell us about your
ideas and how you celebrated this May!
1966 Inwood Rd.
Dallas, TX 75235
1015 E. Yager Lane #66
Austin, TX 78753
This information is presented by the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing
Association (TSHA). It is designed to inform the general public about the
professions of audiology and speech-language pathology and the help
available from these professionals. For fur ther information contact:
Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association
918 Congress Ave., Ste. 200 • Austin, TX 78701
512/494-1127 • 888/SAY-TSHA