From the Commonwealth of KY Education & Workforce Development Cabinet

KCDHH emphasizes awareness and screenings during Better Speech and Hearing Month in May

Significant hearing loss can impact one’s emotional well-being, ability to work, socialize and even have a conversation with a family member or friend. May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, and the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is raising awareness about the effects of hearing loss and providing resources for Kentuckians impacted by hearing loss.

Nearly 700,000 or 16 percent of Kentuckians are deaf and hard of hearing. Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises such as power equipment, car stereos, concerts, personal audio devices and fireworks. As a part of Better Speech and Hearing Month, KCDHH encourages everyone to be aware of the signs of hearing loss and learn about resources available to Kentuckians if a hearing loss is suspected.

“Whether it’s a child who misses the language exposure that is critical for brain and communication development, or an adult who experiences career, social and quality-of-life issues, ignoring hearing loss can negatively affect your well-being, cognitive skills, mental health and even your heart health,” said KCDHH Executive Director Virginia L. Moore.

Hearing loss among adults often happens over time and may be noticed first by friends and family instead of the individual. Signs of hearing loss may include asking people to repeat themselves, misunderstanding people, difficulty hearing on the phone, speaking loudly and increasing the volume on the radio or television.

The main complaint of adults with hearing loss is difficulty understand speech in group conversations, noisy environments and speaking to someone in another room. If you are having trouble hearing or family or friends notice these signs, adults should have their hearing checked by an audiologist.

For children, the signs of hearing loss are different. Parents should look for delayed or abnormal speech development, inattention and poor performance at school. Parents can ask their child’s pediatrician to do a hearing screening at an annual checkup or they can request a hearing screening by an audiologist.

Most people do not know there is a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing evaluation. A screening is a quick test that an individual passes or fails. If the person does not pass the screening, an, in-depth hearing evaluation by an audiologist is recommended.

To avoid hearing loss, individuals should wear hearing protection, turn down the volume on devices (such as ear buds and headphones) or walk away from loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is the most permanent and preventable occupational injury, according to the World Health Organization. Occupational hearing damage is most prevalent among 33 percent of farmers, 16 percent of construction workers and 14 percent of manufacturing workers.

KCDHH provides Kentuckians with appropriate resources and services to help minimize the negative impact of hearing loss. Serving nearly 700,000 Kentuckians with hearing loss, KCDHH provides equipment to make communication on the telephone more accessible, as well as referral and advocacy services information.

For more information about KCDHH, visit www.kcdhh.ky.gov.

Follow the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates. For more information about the cabinet, visithttps://educationcabinet.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

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