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2009 News Releases

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month - LCCLL to offer free speech-language and hearing screenings

April 29, 2009

Longwood Center for Communication, Literacy, and Learning (LCCLL) Logo

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 20.  The free screenings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. at the LCCLL, located at Main and Third streets (above the Daily Grind) in downtown Farmville. For information call 395-2972.

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.

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.

A speech disorder is an impairment of articulation of speech sounds, fluency or voice. Some causes may be related to hearing loss, stroke or severe head injury, or mental retardation. Speech disfluencies such as stuttering may be influenced by genetics, incoordination of speech muscles, environmental factors, or rate of language development.

A language disorder is the impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken and written language necessary for expressing and understanding thoughts and ideas. Disorders of language affect children and adults differently. For children who do not use language normally from birth, or who acquire the impairment in childhood, the disorder occurs in the context of a language system that is not fully developed or acquired. Adults acquire disorders of language because of stroke, head injury, dementia, or brain tumors.

"Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped," said Dr. Lissa Power-deFur, director of the LCCLL and a certified speech-language pathologist. "Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach strategies to people with speech and language problems to help them cope. People may not fully regain their capacity to speak and understand, but a speech-language pathologist can help them live more independently."

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.