Better Hearing and Speech Awareness Month: Take a free hearing test by phone

If you’re a little bit worried about your hearing – but not yet ready to see a doctor – you can take a free screening test over the phone, courtesy of the group National Hearing Test.
The test typically costs $5, but it is being offered free for all of May, which is Better Hearing and Speech Month.
It takes about 10 minutes, and should be done over a landline, not a cellphone. (The sound quality of cell phones varies so much it could interfere with accurate results.)
The test gives a quick, preliminary read on functional hearing, which is the term used to describe the ability to understand speech despite background noise.
Here’s how it works: When you call dial 866-223-7575, you’ll be given the instructions, which are fairly simple. With first one ear then the other, you’ll hear a woman recite three numbers. In response, you enter those same numbers on the keypad.
What makes it challenging is the level of static-like background noise compared to the volume of the prompts. For this reason, the administrators recommend you take the test in a very quiet room with no distractions. (Not, for example, in a newsroom.)
To learn more about the test, go to the website
May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) will release new resources from the Identify the Signs campaign to educate the public about the early signs of communication disorders and how early detection can help. View a multimedia version of this press release here.
This year’s BHSM theme is “Communication Disorders Are Treatable,” and the awareness effort will highlight four topics, including newborn hearing screening and follow-up, noise-induced hearing loss in children, communication issues related to autism, and language and literacy. Among the new resources from the Identify the Signs campaign:

  • An online panel of experts from ASHA, Easter Seals and the Department of Education discussing communication disorders and their treatment, hosted via Google+ Hangout on May 6 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. EDT. RSVP for the live event here.
  • A Twitter party hosted by parenting blogger Michele McGraw (@scrappinmichele) on May 20 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EDT. ASHA experts will be on hand to discuss early detection of speech and hearing disorders in children. No registration is required; those interested in joining can follow the hashtag #BHSMChat at that time.
  • A new infographic illustrating the prevalence and cost of communication disorders, which can be viewed here.
  • Four topical podcasts related to the weekly BHSM themes, which can be accessed here.

ASHA encourages the public to sign the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights to help bring attention to people with communication disorders and the professional care that can help them.
For further information about the early warning signs of communication disorders and where to go for help, visit

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