LCCLL Offers Free Speech And Hearing Screenings

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Longwood Center for Communication, Literacy, and Learning (LCCLL) will offer free speech-language and hearing screenings for children and adults on Wednesday, May 23. The free screenings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 8-10 a.m., noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. at the LCCLL, located at Main and Third streets (third floor, above the Free Clinic) in downtown Farmville. For information call 395-2972.

A representative from the Infant & Toddler Connection of the Heartland will be available to provide information on local early intervention services for infants and toddlers (birth to age three) with suspected developmental delays or disabilities. In addition, a representative of Usborne books will be present with a variety of educational books for sale.

The screenings will be conducted by certified speech-language pathologists and/or graduate students enrolled in Longwood's speech-language pathology program. Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month each May to raise public awareness of speech and language disorders that affect 14 million Americans. Symptoms of hearing loss include: frequently asking people to repeat themselves; often turning your ear toward a sound to hear it better; understanding people better when you wear your glasses or look directly at their faces; losing your place in group conversations; keeping the volume on your radio or TV at a level that others say is too loud; having pain or ringing in your ears.

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“People who see themselves in these statements should see an audiologist for a hearing test,”said Dr. Shannon Salley, clincal educator and coordinator of Longwood University's online speech-language program. “Even a very slight hearing loss can have an impact on your daily life. Hearing loss is treatable, and there is no reason for anyone to miss all the important sounds of life.”

Individuals with a hearing disorder do not hear sound clearly. The problem may range from hearing sounds faintly to profound deafness. Some causes of hearing loss are chronic ear infections or exposure to very loud noise, which can damage the structure of the inner ear as well as the auditory nerve. Other causes include aging and health problems during birth. An annual hearing checkup is a good idea for people age 45 and up, according to audiologists, the professionals who specialize in preventing, identifying, assessing, and treating hearing disorders. Audiologists can prescribe hearing aids and assistive listening devices, and they can teach people with hearing loss how to concentrate on hearing all sounds.

For children, hearing is critical for the development of speech, language, communication skills, and learning. The earlier that hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious is the effect on the child's development. Similarly, the earlier the hearing loss is identified and intervention begun, the more likely it is that the delays in speech and language development will be diminished. Recent research indicates that children identified with hearing loss who begin services before six months old develop language (spoken or signed) on a par with their hearing peers.

Established in fall 2006, the LCCLL is an interdisciplinary center that provides tutoring and speech-language services to adults and children and early intervention services for infants and toddlers.