Communication Matters

What is Vocal Hygiene

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on February 02, 2024

What is Vocal Hygiene?

Vocal hygiene is a term used to describe habits and routines used to support a healthy and strong voice. Just as good oral hygiene can help protect your teeth as you age, vocal hygiene can help you preserve a strong, resonant voice.

Vocal Hygiene Tips

1. Drink More Water: Try a minimum of eight 8 oz glasses of water or other noncaffeinated non-acidic beverage per day, avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages. (NOTE: please speak with your medical provider to ensure consumption of a higher volume of water will not impact any medications you are currently taking.)

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Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Voice, talking, Speech therapy

Learning Sign Language Does Not Mean Children Will Not Learn to Talk

Rebecca Mental, Ph.D., MPH, CCC-SLP | Posted on October 10, 2023

Many parents who have a child who is d/Deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) hope their child will learn to talk. These parents are often hesitant to introduce American Sign Language (ASL) into their home. They may worry that learning ASL will discourage their child from talking. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research by Pontecorvo and colleagues* shows that this worry is not necessary.Video label-1 The study is titled Learning Sign Language Does Not Hinder Acquisition of a Spoken Language. This is a very important study because it found that learning ASL does not mean a child will not learn to talk!

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Tags: Speech, Communication, American Sign Language, ASL

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Adults

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on September 09, 2023

What is AAC?

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Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Support, Stroke, Caregiving, Brain Injury, talking, Communication Access, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery, Aphasia, Primary Progressive Aphasia

Everyone Needs a Will

Debbie Dey | Posted on August 08, 2023

Many people are creating a will for the first time or reviewing and updating their will to ensure it meets their current circumstances. 

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Tags: Donations, Donors, planned giving, Wills

Care Partner vs Care Giver

Kacey Riga, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on June 06, 2023

Those caring for adults with speech, language, and cognitive challenges serve an important role in the healthcare management team. These challenges may be a result of medical diagnoses such as dementia, stroke, and ALS, or occur independently. No matter the etiology, support is often necessary to help individuals reach their goals. Due to the nature of this role, we are beginning to shift our perspective on how to most effectively refer to these individuals: care partner vs. care giver.

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Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Support, Stroke, Caregiving, Brain Injury, talking, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery, Aphasia, Primary Progressive Aphasia

Improving Your Mental Health & Wellness

Maria O’Neil Ruddock, Psy.D. | Posted on May 05, 2023

Mental Health includes our emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate and get along with others, and make good and healthy choices in our life.

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Aphasia or Primary Progressive Aphasia?

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on March 03, 2023

Aphasia is a language disorder resulting from an injury to the brain, such as a stroke or head trauma. The outcome of aphasia varies significantly from person to person. The most predictive indicator of long-term recovery is initial aphasia severity, along with the lesion site (location of damage to the brain) and the size of the lesion

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Tags: Language, Communication, Stroke, Caregiving, Brain Injury, talking, Communication Access, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery, Aphasia, Primary Progressive Aphasia

Supported Conversations for Adults with Aphasia (SCA)

Kacey Riga, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on November 11, 2022

If you know someone who is recovering from a stroke or other acquired brain injury, you may have experienced a heightened level of difficulty when participating in conversations. Aphasia, or language difficulties as a result of a stroke, can impact a person’s ability to express themselves or understand information. This breakdown in communication can lead to feelings of isolation and distress.

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Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Support, Stroke, Caregiving, talking, Communication Access, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery, Aphasia

What is Language?

Language is how a mother tells her baby "I love you" with a sing-song voice. It's how a 3-year-old tells a knock-knock joke while trying to hold back their laughter. It's how a teacher explains the rules of long division to her fidgety students. Language connects us, and language helps us learn.

At the most basic level, language is a set of symbols that a community has agreed upon to stand for objects and ideas. You use these symbols to talk listen, read, and write. In the case of American Sign Language, you use language to produce signs and interpret signs. Having effective language skills means that you can express your ideas and can understand when others express their ideas. Language is uniquely human, and babies begin to build the foundation for language even before they are born!

It can be helpful to think about the difference between language and speech. When your child says "I wuv my wed twuck," (I love my red truck), it doesn't sound right - that's the speech part - but she is sharing her thoughts on something she really likes - that's the language part.

Language includes which words you know and which words you chose to use. It is how you put those words together, the tone of voice that you use, and whether the person across from you understands what you mean. You use language to solve story problems in math class and write an essay in English class. Language skills are what allow you to build relationships with your family and friends.

Not having access to language is frustrating. Imagine being dropped in the middle of a foreign country with a pounding headache. You need to find a drug store, but how would you communicate what you need? How would you understand directions if someone did figure out what you were trying to say? You're in pain, you're confused, and you can't get your problem solved.

Now think of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy who doesn't yet say any words. His head is full of wants and needs, but he has no clear way of letting others know what they are. He also has trouble understanding what his parents want him to do when they give him simple directions. He often throws things when he can't be understood or doesn't understand what his parents want him to do. All of this is because he has difficulty with speaking and listening, that is, with language.

Language underpins everything we do, and having difficulty with language skills at any age means you can't fully participate in everyday life. Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center has a team of licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs) with expertise in building language skills.

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Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, literacy, Learning, Voice, toddler, talking, Early Intervention, Speech therapy

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids - What You Should Know

Bridgid M. Whitford Au.D, CCC-A | Posted on August 08, 2022

The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration finalizing the ruling that allows for Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aid sales is good news for increased access to hearing health care. It will provide increased access to hearing aids for adults (ages 18 and older) who have mild to moderate hearing loss. This can be an initial step to the acceptance and treatment of hearing loss, much like reading glasses for eyesight. OTC hearing aids are not appropriate for children or those with moderate to severe or profound hearing loss.

As an agency with a 101-year history of providing access to hearing health care for all people including marginalized and vulnerable populations, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center (CHSC) believes this is a step in the right direction for a more global acceptance of the treatment of hearing loss and with Baby Boomers hitting retirement ages, it could not be timelier.

However, at CHSC, we encourage people to undergo an audiologic evaluation (hearing test) before purchasing any hearing aids. A proper diagnosis of the degree of hearing loss results in a more accurately programmed hearing aid – much like a proper prescription for glasses. A hearing evaluation will also identify any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the hearing loss.

CHSC's commitment to hearing health will continue into the next century. We will continue to provide professional audiology services to those who purchase their hearing aids – now including OTC aids - but may find they need additional support.

In addition, CHSC will continue to provide our full range of hearing aid services for all degrees of hearing loss and all ages. Low-cost and no-cost options for hearing aids may include health insurance with hearing aid benefits such as some Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid, and our Audiology Patient Assistance Program (APA).

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Tags: Hearing Aid, Audiology, Hearing Aids, Hearing, Hearing Loss Prevention, Hard of Hearing, Hearing Loss, "ears", Communication Access, Medicare



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