Speech and Hearing Month: Our communication gateway

Our ability to hear and speak allows us to communicate with others, which is integral to our emotional and social well-being. Issues with our hearing or speech that prohibit us from communicating can pose significant challenges, such as social isolation.


In their 40s, adults may begin to notice problems understanding speech, especially in noisy or busy situations. These problems usually increase gradually over years or decades before a clinically significant hearing loss is diagnosed. Some people will have more problems than others because they may develop different types (s) of age-related hearing loss. Type 1 hearing loss involves damage to the outer hair cells in the inner ear, type 2 involves changes in the blood supply to the inner ear, and type 3 involves damage to the nerves connecting the ear to the brain.


Even before an older adult develops clinically significant hearing loss, there can be age-related declines in hearing that increase problems understanding, focusing attention on, and remembering information during conversation. It may seem like other people are mumbling or that it is easy to hear in some situations but almost impossible in other cases.


For some older adults, speech challenges may result from a stroke or a head injury. ‘Aphasia’ is the term for language difficulties – including trouble speaking, listening and understanding, and reading and writing after experiencing a stroke. The good news is that speech and language therapy can help speed up recovery.


To learn more about speech and hearing, read through our resources below.

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DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website