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Raising Awareness, Removing Stigma: Council Declares May Better Hearing and Speech Month


Hearing loss affects about 650,000 people living in Washington State. It is the third most common physical condition in the United States and affects people of all ages.


The Metropolitan King County Council today proclaimed May as Better Hearing and Speech Month to increase awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with hearing loss and speech problems, as well as available treatments.

“Many people with hearing loss are now able to participate more fully in the life of their community thanks to the advances in technology and policy that are helping more and more people,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci, prime sponsor of the proclamation. “I applaud organizations like the Hearing Loss Association of America that advocate to ensure people who experience hearing loss can fully engage with their families and communities.”

“Loss of hearing is a big issue that can have many quality of life side effects. It’s important that friends and family members recognize the signs of hearing loss and be able to help mitigate the consequences,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “Those with hearing loss struggle every day and encouragement and patience is always thoughtful.”

“Hearing loss affects persons both young and old and can lead to isolation and depression. For kids, it can seriously hamper development,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles co-sponsor of the proclamation. “That’s why it is so important for us to raise awareness about the negative impacts of hearing loss so we can get people the help they need to live rewarding and fulfilling lives.”

Hearing loss affects about 650,000 people living in Washington State. It is the third most common physical condition in the United States and affects people of all ages. Causes include aging, exposure to loud noises, physical formation of the ear, and genetics.

Untreated hearing loss can have wide-ranging negative effects on a person’s life, including difficulty at work or school, social isolation, increased risk of personal injury, and general difficulty communicating. Many people with hearing loss do not seek treatment due to perceived stigma or embarrassment or lack of access to medical services. Receiving treatment can improve overall quality of life for people with hearing and speech problems and their families and friends.

Councilmembers join hearing health advocate Cheri Perazzoli (holding proclamation)
after the Council proclaimed the month of May Better Hearing and Speech Month
in King County


WHEREAS, May is recognized as Better Hearing and Speech Month across the country; and

WHEREAS, 48 million Americans, including 650,000 Washingtonians, suffer from hearing loss; and

WHEREAS, hearing challenges impact many people still in the workforce or in educational settings; and

WHEREAS, during this month, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association seeks to raise awareness about communication disorders and the many ways that people with the daily challenges of speech and hearing loss can be supported; and

WHEREAS, untreated hearing loss can lead to communication challenges, isolation, depression, loss of functionality in the workplace, reduced earnings, and increased falls; and

WHEREAS, many people don’t seek treatment for hearing loss because of a perceived stigma or embarrassment; and

WHEREAS, by recognizing these challenges, we can draw attention to the needs, shine a light on these often invisible disabilities, and help avoid the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim May, 2018, as


in King County and urge all residents to become more aware of the challenges faced by those with hearing loss and support efforts to alleviate these issues.

DATED this twenty-first day of May, 2018.




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