May is Better Hearing & Speech Month, an annual occasion designed to raise awareness of hearing loss and speech problems.
Originally created in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1986, President Reagan issued a formal proclamation designating May as the official month to heighten public awareness around hearing loss and speech disorders.
Better Hearing & Speech Month aims to encourage people to take action if they believe there might be a problem with their hearing or speech. The organization has traditionally chosen a theme to build conversations around. This year’s theme? ‘Building Connections’—perfectly timed for the new normal pandemic era.
Many in the hearing care industry take advantage of the opportunity to educate people during May. They’ve got a large potential audience: an estimated 48 million Americans and counting suffer from hearing loss. 
In fact, hearing and communication issues are greater than they ever have been in the modern era, with masks woven into our daily wardrobes—muffling speech, muddling lip-reading queues and more.
Research has shown that wearing a mask attenuates the wearer’s high frequencies by three to four decibels for a simple medical mask and close to 12 decibels for N95 masks. Twelve decibels may not be a big issue for those with normal hearing, but it can quickly turn a nuisance into a communication breakdown for those with hearing loss.
Fortunately, hearing exams are still the best way to detect hearing loss early. They enable an audiologist to identify problems before they worsen and recommend treatment to those who might otherwise suffer debilitating social and emotional effects of the condition, including depression, isolation, memory loss and cognitive impairment.
If you notice problems with your hearing or suspect a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss, heed the message of Better Hearing & Speech Month and contact Hearing Focused today for a hearing exam at (262) 679-8888.
 Hearing Loss Association of America. (n.d.). Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_HearingLoss_Facts_Statistics.pdf?pdf=FactStats
 Goldin A, Weinstein BE, Shiman N. How do medical masks degrade speech perception? Hearing Review. 2020;27(5):8-9.