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Congress Recognizes May as National Better Hearing and Speech Month

ROCKVILLE, Md., -- Last week, the two chambers of the U.S. Congress passed resolutions recognizing May as National Better Hearing and Speech Month and offering their support for the goals and ideals of the month. For the past 75 years, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has celebrated May as Better Hearing and Speech Month to help focus public awareness on the speech, language and hearing disorders that affect 42 million Americans and hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide.

Introduced by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) with nine co-sponsors, the resolution S. Con. Res. 103 passed the Senate by unanimous consent last Wednesday. The co-sponsors of the resolution were Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Sen. Michael DeWine (R-OH), Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Sen. Robert Torticelli (D-NJ).

The House resolution H. Con. Res. 358, which passed the previous day, was sponsored by the members of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, representatives Jim Ryun (R-KS), James Walsh (R-NY), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

"As professionals committed to improving the lives of 42 million individuals with speech, language, and hearing disorders, we are pleased that Congress has chosen to recognize the fundamental importance of communication in childhood and throughout the life span by passing these resolutions," said Nancy Creaghead, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, president of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association (ASHA).

In the United States, 28 million people have a hearing loss; 14 million people have a speech or language disorder.

In addition to supporting the goals and ideals of National Better Hearing and Speech Month, the resolutions also

commend the 41 States that have implemented routine hearing screenings for every newborn before the infant leaves the hospital;

support the efforts of speech and hearing professions in their efforts to improve the speech and hearing development of children; and

encourage the people of the United States to have their hearing checked regularly and to avoid environmental noise that can lead to hearing loss.

For free brochures and materials on speech, language, and hearing disorders, or for referrals to qualified speech-language pathologists or audiologists, consumers can call ASHA's toll-free HELPLINE at 1-800-638-8255 or visit the ASHA web site at http://www.asha.org.

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 105,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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