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ASHA Marks Better Hearing and Speech Month With New PSA Campaign That Encourages the Public To Seek Care From Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

Polling Shows People Are Concerned About Communication Difficulties, Yet Many Don’t Know Where to Seek Treatment

May 10, 2022

(Rockville, MD) A new national broadcast public service announcement (PSA) campaign launched today by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) showcases the life-altering treatment outcomes made possible with care from audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

The bilingual television and radio PSAs feature the stories of real professionals and people they have treated across the lifespan. Their release coincides with national Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), celebrated each May, along with new polling results documenting a high incidence of concern among Americans about communication and swallowing disorders.

The national polling, commissioned by ASHA and completed by YouGov in March 2022, shows a strong need for public education about treatment services for these disorders. Results of nearly 3,000 American adults ages 18 and older revealed that more than 6 in 10 people (65%) have concern for themselves or for a child, spouse, or older relative in the following areas: balance/risk of falls, hearing/ringing in the ears, cognition, swallowing, and/or speech/language.

Furthermore, many adults do not know that these conditions are treatable with care from audiologists (in the cases of balance and hearing problems) or speech-language pathologists (for cognition, swallowing, and speech/language disorders). At the same time, those who received treatment services from these trained professionals reported high rates of satisfaction.

“Communication disorders are among the most common conditions that people across the age span will experience—affecting tens of millions of Americans each year. Yet many don’t know just how treatable these disorders can be, which is a missed opportunity for those who stand to vastly improve their quality of life with care,” said Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, 2022 ASHA President.

She continued: “These new polling results tell us that we must make the public better aware of the transformative progress that audiologists and speech-language pathologists are making every day with their students, patients, and clients. A person’s ability to communicate effectively, and to swallow and eat safely, are closely connected to their academic, social, and career success as well as their overall quality of life. It is my hope that these new public service announcements will make these professions household names, so that people of all ages can be connected with the care they require and deserve.”

Key Polling Results

The key findings from the ASHA–YouGov national poll of 2,964 U.S. adults ages 18+ are detailed below:

  • Many Americans don’t think that common conditions are treatable with audiologist care. More than 1 in 4 Americans (28%) don’t realize that balance issues/risk of falls are treatable by an audiologist. And 20% don’t think that hearing difficulties are treatable by an audiologist.
  • People are not sure about where or from whom to seek care for difficulties that are typically treated by speech-language pathologists. One in 4 respondents (25%) are not confident that they know where to go for help with a speech/language disorder. Slightly less (24%) say that they don’t know where to go for help with a cognitive issue—and 21% are not confident where to go for help with a swallowing or eating problem.
  • During the pandemic, Americans waited to seek help for concerns that could have been treated by audiologists or speech-language pathologists. More than one quarter of adults (29%) said that they delayed such care for themselves for 1 year or longer due to the pandemic. The main reason reported for delaying treatment was concern about contracting COVID-19 (40%).
  • Those who have received care from audiologists or speech-language pathologists are highly satisfied with it. More than three-quarters of people (77%) who received help from an audiologist or speech-language pathologist reported that they were satisfied with their care. 
  • Americans are open to receiving telehealth treatment services. Close to three-quarters of adults (71%) are at least “somewhat open” to receiving remote (web-based) care via telehealth. 

“Real Stories” PSA Campaign

ASHA’s “Real Stories” television and radio PSA campaign was inspired by stories of real people receiving care from certified audiologists and speech-language pathologists. ASHA is distributing these PSAs to broadcast media outlets across the country and expects to air them for at least a year. 

For more information about communication disorders, and to find a national database of audiologists and speech-language pathologists, visit www.asha.org/public.

A Note re. Methodology: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,964 U.S. adults ages 18+. Fieldwork was undertaken March 22–24, 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 223,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders.


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