Early warning signs of hearing and speech disorders


Nationwide according to DHHS, 11% of children ages 3-6 have a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder-and the CDC says almost 15% of school-age children experience some degree of hearing loss. Fortunately, early detection makes treatment of these disorders easier and less expensive - long-term savings from early intervention exceed the upfront costs at a ratio of 7 to 1.

In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) conducted a poll of speech-language and audiologist professionals about parents' awareness of the early warning signs of speech, language and hearing disorders.

According to the survey, ASHA found that more than 46 percent of certified experts report lack of awareness among parents as the leading barrier to early detection of communication disorders. In addition, more than a third of professionals surveyed say that upon noticing the warning signs of a speech or language disorder, parents, on average, are waiting one year or longer before taking action, meaning children are being put further at risk if they do have a speech or hearing disorder.

To raise awareness of the importance of identifying early warning signs of speech, language and hearing issues, ASHA will release a new PSA to educate parents, caregivers and educators. The PSA is part of ASHA's national Identify the Signs campaign, a multimedia public education effort to raise awareness of the importance of early detection.

Visit, to view the new PSA and to learn more about early detection.

ASHA President of the Board of Directors Elise Davis-McFarland, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Charles Bishop, AuD, PhD, CCC-A, Member of ASHA Board of Directors, are available to discuss:

• Early Detection: The early warning signs of communication disorders and the importance of immediate detection

• Identify the Signs: The new PSA and ASHA's ongoing efforts to inform the public about early detection of speech, language and hearing issues

• New Research: Information from ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists highlighting lack of awareness among parents

• Resources: Where parents, caregivers and educators can go for help regarding communication disorders

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