"This year was fun for me because I got to do something I had never done before [Google+ Hangout]. BHSM posed a great way to contribute on a broader scale for me."
Although Patti Martin has contributed to ASHA’s awareness-raising efforts a number of times in the past, May is Better Hearing and Speech Month 2014 was really her time to shine. As part of Better Hearing and Speech Month, Martin participated in a podcast on newborn hearing screening, providing parents and caregivers the information they need to have their children screened and address any issues that may arise as a result.
In addition, Martin was a panelist on ASHA’s Google+ Hangout event for Better Hearing and Speech Month where she discussed not only newborn hearing, but also noise-induced hearing loss in children with a number of other communication and education professionals.
"This year was fun for me because I got to do something I had never done before," says Martin of her experiences with the podcast and Google+ Hangout. "Better Hearing and Speech Month posed a great way to contribute on a broader scale for me."
Beyond her contributions in May, Martin was able to help raise awareness of communication issues throughout the year. Her participation in a number of local broadcast media interviews was critical to highlighting ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign and the early detection message in Little Rock, Arkansas. In these interviews, Martin helped to raise awareness of the importance of early detection when it comes to hearing loss—particularly in children.
"We have great stories to tell about the patients that we see," says Martin about her experiences with the media. "It seems natural to tell those stories and help educate people about what we do." By serving as a regular media source, Martin has been able to reach families and consumers to tell them about the work done by communication professionals and the range of services they can provide. By helping to raise awareness of early intervention, she feels she can make a huge impact on children’s educational and life outcomes.
To other ASHA members who are thinking about serving as a media source, Martin says, "I think it’s a great way to get involved with ASHA if you’ve not done anything with the organization before. It’s a great way to contribute to our profession and gain public awareness for the kinds of things that we do."