We humans are incredibly social organisms. It is difficult to figure out when our species first started talking, but speech is one of the elements that make us uniquely human. Many experts believe that it was speech that aided in the manufacture of stone tools and the teaching of those primitive technologies. Our gift of gab has enabled us to survive. In the last few hundred thousand years, communication has transformed from grunts and sharp rocks to freestyle rapping on Broadway and live video chatting with astronauts on the International Space Station.
But communication involves a lot more than the ability to speak. There needs to be a receiver for all that incoming information. For many, that involves the ability to hear. We also need to understand what is being said or written or signed. Unfortunately, one in five adults will have a communication disorder in his or her life. This can take a toll on a person’s health and well-being. Technology is ever-advancing; however, few people seek help. Moreover, many are not aware of the importance of protecting key communication structures from damage - particularly those related to hearing and voice.
For this reason, Gateway to Hearing Health wishes to join organizations such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in promoting May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. This year’s theme is “Communication for All,” and the goal is to raise awareness about communication disorders. One focus is on hearing health - a topic we know some things about.
The outlook is promising, with new nutraceuticals in the works. As you may know, Gateway Biotechnology has been working to bring an over-the-counter (OTC) pill to market to promote hearing health. There will be two formulations: one to protect against noise-induced hearing loss and another to protect against age-related hearing loss. These products should be available for purchase online by this summer.
As always, it is important to protect the hearing we already have. One can still live a fun, full life while making a few small efforts. We suggest keeping a pair of earplugs in your bag or car for when you find yourself in a loud environment. If you are a parent or grandparent, visit NIDCD’s “It’s A Noisy Planet” website to learn about how to protect your child’s hearing. For more information and printer-ready materials about Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit ASHA’s website.
With communication for all, we can achieve wonderful things.