Better Hearing & Speech Month

It’s Better Hearing & Speech Month — protect the future of hearing by spreading the word about noise-induced hearing loss.

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month! Sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, this event is a time to raise awareness about hearing loss and communication disorders. This year’s theme, “Communication for All,” focuses on strategies to prevent the expected increase in the number of people living with hearing loss.

At CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, we know that healthy hearing habits start early — and that parents of your patients may not be aware of the risks of spending too much time around loud noises, especially for young children.

This Better Hearing & Speech Month, we’re highlighting our shared responsibility as public health and health care professionals to educate parents about noise-induced hearing loss — and we’re asking you join us in our efforts to share key messages like these:

  • 48 million people in the United States have trouble hearing with one (or both) of their ears
  • Over time, being around too much loud noise can make your child lose their hearing — and once it’s gone, they can’t get it back
  • There’s a lot you can do to protect your child’s hearing, like keeping them away from loud noises and having them wear ear protection when they’re around loud noises

To make it convenient for you to help parents learn how to protect their children’s hearing, we’ve put together some talking points and a fact sheet for your use. We hope you’ll find them helpful and that you’ll join us in our goal to empower parents to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in children. Together, we can help prevent hearing loss!

Learn more about noise-induced hearing loss.

Talking Points for Health Care Professionals

Share the facts about noise-induced hearing loss

Use these talking points to communicate with parents about noise-related hearing loss:

  • If children are around too much loud noise over time, they can lose their hearing — and once it’s gone, they can’t get it back
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is common — more than 1 in 8 children (ages 6 to 19) have it
  • You can take steps to protect your child’s hearing, like keeping them away from loud noises when possible and making sure they wear ear protection — like earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones

Keep in mind that parents may not understand the level of noise that can damage their children’s hearing. Communicate facts like:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss can happen gradually over time, and most people don’t feel any warning signs until their hearing is already damaged
  • Many places can have music or other noise that is loud enough to cause hearing loss — including restaurants, video arcades, movie theaters, concerts, and sports games
  • If there’s so much noise around you that you need to raise your voice to talk to someone who’s only a few feet away, it’s probably loud enough to hurt your child’s hearing (and your own!)

And remember to share the steps parents can take to prevent noise-induced hearing loss, including:

  1. Try to avoid loud noises whenever possible. For example, when attending a fireworks show, make sure you’re a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being set off.
  2. Keep the volume down on TVs, personal music players, toys, and other electronic devices. Many phones and tablets have settings to limit the volume to a safe level.
  3. Talk to your child about how loud noise can hurt their ears, and model healthy hearing habits — like wearing earplugs in loud places, or plugging your ears with your fingers if you’re outside while an ambulance or fire truck with sirens is going by. Research shows that this can make kids more likely to choose healthy behaviors when they are older.
  4. Have your child use hearing protection (like noise-cancelling headphones for young children, or earplugs for older children) in loud places like video arcades, movie theaters, concerts, and sports games.
Page last reviewed: May 3, 2018