This year Better Hearing and Speech Month celebrates its 90th year of bringing hearing awareness to the forefront.
Since 1927, the month of May has been dedicated as Better Hearing and Speech Month in the United States. Across the country, organizations dedicated to promoting hearing health join together, serving to not only bring awareness and understanding to hearing health, but to shine a spotlight on the issues faced by those with hearing loss.
President Ronald Reagan, who had hearing loss and was the first president to be fitted with hearing aids while in office, authorized a congressional proclamation declaring May 1986 as Better Hearing and Speech Month, the goal being to raise awareness of hearing and speech disorders.
Progress of the campaign has continued throughout the decades, with even more far-reaching implications. Congress introduced a resolution declaring May 2004 to be National Hearing and Speech Month. As of today 43 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have mandatory newborn hearing screenings, while the other seven states have an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program in place.
Throughout the years, many different organizations have joined the Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month, including the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), The Better Hearing Institute, and Oticon. Working together they supported the theme of the 2015 campaign, which was Early Intervention Counts. Two long standing campaigns included in BHSM are Identify the Signs, which brings awareness to the symptoms of hearing loss, and Listen to Your Buds, a safe-listening campaign directed at young people, in the interest of bringing awareness and prevention to noise-induced hearing loss. The idea is to encourage safe listening at sports, concerts or when listening to personal music.