Seek an evaluation from a certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist if you recognize any signs of a speech, language, or hearing problem either in yourself or a loved one. You can use ASHA ProFind to find ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists who hold a CCC-SLP and ASHA-certified audiologists with a CCC-A. You can also find local professionals by asking your doctor for a recommendation, checking with your insurance provider, or contacting your state's early intervention program (children only) or state speech-language-hearing association.
Too many people take a "wait and see" approach when it comes to a communication disorder, hoping that the issue will resolve itself with time. This plan may be reinforced by family, friends, or other well-meaning individuals. However, delaying treatment can result in a missed opportunity to not only more easily and effectively treat a disorder but also to undergo a shorter and less expensive course of treatment.
In children, treatment delay may have profound effects. It can impact overall development during the critical early years. This can affect social skills, later academic success, and future vocational choices. The benefits of early intervention also apply to adults, who may acquire age- or noise-related hearing loss, injuries to vocal cords, or speech, language, or swallowing disorders due to stroke, Parkinson's, cancer, or other medical conditions.