Well, the plan for this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month was to explore issues with “Communication at Work” and how recognizing and enhancing hearing loss could play a role in professional settings.
But, as we all know, circumstances have changed drastically. Many, many plans have changed.
That’s why the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) — which founded Better Hearing & Speech Month in 1927 — has thrown in the towel and, in a last-minute course correction, made the month about COVID-19 instead.
“Our goal is to champion every person’s ability to communicate, including at this difficult time. Although circumstances are quite unprecedented for this year’s Better Hearing & Speech Month, the expertise and dedication of ASHA members are constant,” stated ASHA President Theresa H. Rodgers in an April 30 press release. “The countless, innovative ways audiologists and speech-language pathologists have transformed their work during the pandemic—striving to help their patients, clients, and students to the fullest extent possible—testify to their unwavering commitment to ASHA’s vision of making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.”
ASHA plans on releasing information that individuals can use at home to deal with a wide variety of hearing issues, from coping with the realities of dealing with Zoom meetings to helping children who have been cut off from their speech therapy at school.
This is in addition to ASHA’s work helping industry professionals deal with issues like telehealth, infection prevention, and disruptions to research and clinical trials.
Like so many parts of life, everyone involved in the hearing health profession — on both sides of the customer/provider line — have to embrace the need for change.