May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Public Education Sheet
For over 75 years May has been designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month — a time to raise public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the various forms of communication impairments to include those of hearing, speech, language, and voice. Communication impairments affect the most vulnerable in our society — the young, the aged, the disabled, and the poor.
Helen Keller once noted that of all her impairments, she was perhaps troubled most by her lack of speech and hearing.  She elaborated, that while blindness separated her from things, her lack of speech and hearing separated her from people — the human connection of communication
·        Speech-Language Pathology (Speech-Language Pathologists) and Audiology (Audiologists) are the professions concerned with the prevention, identification, and treatment of communication impairments.  After earning a master’s degree (consisting of required coursework and practicum experiences), passing a national examination, and serving a year long clinical internship, these professionals are eligible for certification, in the form of the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  (Both of these professions were rated among the top 50 for job satisfaction in recent Jobs Rated Almanac.)
·        Speech-language pathologists are the professionals who treat various aspects of all types of speech, language, voice, stuttering, hearing, swallowing and related disorders. They hold at least a master’s degree and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Speech Pathologists work in schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics, and other health and education settings.
·        In the United States it is estimated that between 6-15 million adults have some form of dysphagia (swallowing difficulties).  This can be the result of a neurological disorder/event (stroke, disease, syndrome, brain injury), head and/or neck cancer, or unknown cause. Dysphagia can range from minor oral discoordination to severe aspiration (into the lungs) of foods and liquids.  The entire spectrum affects the safety and effectiveness of nutrition and hydration.
·        A videofluoroscopic swallow study, also called a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS), may be ordered after a clinical swallow evaluation is completed if there is concern that a patient may be aspirating on food or liquids, has significant oral dysphagia that can not be seen clearly from the outside, or if patient has significant complaints of food “getting stuck” in the throat.  This procedure is completed in a radiology suite at a hospital or on a mobile unit with a speech pathologist and physician present.  The patient is given different consistencies and textures of food and drink laced with barium to swallow while under fluoroscopy.  The patient’s swallow is evaluated by observing the contrast move through the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
·        After completing a swallowing evaluation, therapy is often recommended.  Swallowing therapy can include diet modification training, teaching of compensatory strategies, exercises, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation.  
·        Speech and language disorders take many forms such as speech, articulation, voice, stuttering, aphasia, oral language, or swallowing problems. They may be learning based, acquired, or the result of accidental injury or illness at any age. Speech and language disorders can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement.  Most people with speech and language problems can be helped. Even if a problem cannot be eliminated, Speech pathologists can teach people with speech, language, or swallowing problems strategies to help them cope. People may not fully develop or regain their capacity to speak, understand, or swallow but a Speech Pathologist can help them achieve an improved quality of life.
·        The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that approximately 43,000,000 people in the United States suffer from a speech, voice, language, or hearing impairment. 
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For your  Mobile Modified Barium Swallow Studies contact DiagnosTEX.  For more information go to