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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Contact: Nicole Bollman

Each May, during Better Hearing and Speech Month, the CGH Audiology department takes the opportunity to educate the public on hearing loss, and the role that exposure to loud noise can permanently affect your hearing. This May, CGH Speech Therapy department and CGH Audiology are celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems and to encourage people to think about their own hearing and get their hearing checked.

The CDC supports Better Hearing and Speech Month, founded in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). According to the ASHA, speech, language, and hearing disorders often go undetected and untreated for too long. Early identification and intervention for hearing loss is important. CGH Audiology and the CGH Speech Therapy department urges families to learn the early signs of these disorders and seek an assessment if they have concerns.

According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss affects over 36 million Americans and is the third most common health problem in the United States. Hearing loss is commonly associated with the normal aging process but more than half of those with hearing loss are younger than 65 years old.

Signs of hearing loss include the following:

  • Asking people to repeat what they said
  • Ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring sounds in the ears
  • Misunderstanding conversations
  • Social isolation due to fear of misunderstanding conversation
  • Perceiving that people “mumble”
  • Turning up the volume on the TV, radio, or personal listening device
  • And more

If you experience one or more of these signs or feel that your hearing is not as good as it should be, it is time to seek the help of an audiologist.

“On average, most adults wait 7 to 10 years after realizing they have a hearing loss before actually taking action. There have been studies that show untreated hearing loss in adults can be linked to higher incidences of social isolation, anxiety, cognitive decline and dementia,” said Dr. Jessica Birkey, AuD. “Timely intervention is important. In children, untreated speech/language and hearing disorders can lead to problems with reading and writing, academic success, social interactions, behavioral problems, and more. If you have any concerns, don’t wait and see if there is a change. Trust your instincts, and get it checked out.”

Hearing loss is evaluated and treated by audiologists. The role of an Audiologist is to identify and diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss as well as provide treatment options which may include hearing instruments. They also work closely with physicians as an important part of the management team.

Speech and language disorders are evaluated and treated by speech-language pathologists. Warning signs of these disorders are listed below.

Language Disorders

  1. Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
  2. Does not babble (4–7 months)
  3. Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7–12 months)
  4. Does not understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
  5. Says only a few words (12–18 months)
  6. Words are not easily understood (18 months–2 years)
  7. Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5–3 years)
  8. Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2–3 years)
  9. Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2½–3 years)

Speech Sound Disorders

  1. Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1–2 years)
  2. Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2–3 years)
  3. Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2–3 years)

Hearing Loss

  1. Shows a lack of attention to sounds (birth–1 year)
  2. Does not respond when you call their name (7 months–1 year)
  3. Does not follow simple directions (1–2 years)
  4. Shows delays in speech and language development (birth–3 years)
  5. Pulls or scratches at their ears
  6. Has difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
  7. Is socially isolated and unhappy at school
  8. Has persistent ear discomfort after exposure to loud noise (regular and constant listening to electronics at high volumes)

Families can learn more about these signs, get tips for helping their child, and find a searchable database of the professionals who treat communication disorders at Sauk Valley residents who want to schedule an assessment may contact CGH Speech Therapy at (815) 625-0400, ext. 4458, or CGH Audiology, (815) 632-5400 or visit


The CGH Speech Therapy department offers services for the following:

  1. Aphasia: An inability to understand speech or express thoughts with speech characterizes this condition, which is commonly caused by stroke or brain tumor.
  2. Cognitive Communication Impairments: Underlying attention, memory, abstract reasoning or
    problem-solving deficits characterize these issues, which are possibly related to stroke, brain injury, or underlying disease.
  3. Dysarthria: This form of speech is slurred or slow, and it can be caused by neurological injuries such as stroke.
  4. Vocal Quality Concerns: People with these issues have vocal tones that are too loud or too soft, and those issues are commonly caused by vocal abuse or cancer. CGH is proud to offer Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) LOUD certified speech therapy services for patients struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions.
  5. Swallowing Difficulty (Dysphagia): The nerves and muscles that impact your ability to speak clearly may also play a role in your ability to manipulate food and swallow it without choking. Our therapists can assist people who have these chewing and swallowing disorders.
  6. Pediatric Speech/Language and Feeding Therapy

Speech Therapy Hours and Locations:

  1. Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., (815-625-0400, ext. 4458)
  2. Outpatient Services - CGH Locust Street Medical Center, at 1809 N. Locust Ave., Sterling
  3. Outpatient Services - CGH Morrison Medical Center, at 105 S. Heaton Street, Morrison
  4. Inpatient Services - CGH Medical Center, at 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling

CGH Main Clinic Audiology Hours and Location:

  1. Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., (815-632-5400), CGH Main Clinic, 101 E. Miller Rd., Sterling