Monday, May 22, 2023
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges people face with communication disorders and the solutions that can transform their lives. At the heart of these solutions is speech therapy, a critical service in the lives of those who need it.
Speech disorders can manifest in various ways, from stammering and stuttering to difficulties with voice pitch, volume, and quality. Language disorders can make it hard to understand others or express thoughts and feelings. Swallowing disorders, on the other hand, can make eating and drinking a challenge. These disorders can significant negative impacts on quality of life, restricting the ability to communicate, socialize, and live independently.
At Norman Regional, speech therapists work closely with patients of all ages, from children struggling with language development to adults recovering from strokes or other neurological conditions. The primary goal of their work is to help patients communicate effectively and eat safely. The team uses a combination of traditional and innovative techniques to help patients overcome their challenges.
Some of our services include:
- Pediatric feeding disorders: such as feeding aversions and failure to thrive
- Developmental delays: delayed speech or language development of infants and children
- Speech/language disorders: including articulation impairments, phonological disorders
- Dysphagia: difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Motor speech disorders (dysarthria/ apraxia): slurred speech or difficulty producing clear speech
- Aphasia: difficulty communicating after a stroke or neurological event
- Cognitive impairments: difficulty with memory, attention and/or problem solving
- Fluency: pediatric or adult stuttering
- Voice disorders: hoarse vocal quality, vocal nodules or polyps
- Parkinson’s Voice Project SPEAK OUT!® and The Loud Crowd®
The Speech Therapy Patient Journey
Each therapeutic journey at Norman Regional begins with a comprehensive evaluation. The speech-language pathologists assess the patient's speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing skills. This assessment forms the foundation for a personalized treatment plan designed to meet the individual needs and goals of each patient. It’s important to mention that Norman Regional speech language pathologists work hard to provide a welcoming, inclusive and judgement-free environment for patients.
Speech therapists are skilled in various interventions, including articulation therapy to improve speech sound production, language intervention activities to enhance comprehension and expression, and voice therapy to address problems with pitch, volume, or quality of voice. For patients with swallowing disorders, the therapists offer dysphagia therapy, which includes exercises and strategies to improve swallowing function.
One of the unique aspects of the speech therapy services at Norman Regional is the use of their specific assistive technology. For patients who struggle with severe communication disorders, therapists may recommend devices such as speech-generating devices or apps that convert text to speech. These innovative tools can significantly enhance communication capabilities and provide a lifeline to those who struggle to express themselves verbally. For example, speech therapists at Norman Regional working with gender-affirming voice therapy patients utilize an app called Voice Tools. This technology measures the frequency of the patient’s voice during conversation, which therapists can compare to the average frequency ranges of a feminine (145-275 hertz), masculine (80-165 hertz) and androgynous (145-185 hertz) voice. You can hear these frequencies yourself using an online keyboard.
The keyboard above represents the average masculine, androgynous and feminine voice frequences and their associated note values.
However, the work of a speech therapist at Norman Regional goes beyond direct patient care. They also play a critical role in educating families and caregivers about how they can support their loved ones in their therapeutic journey. This holistic approach ensures that patients continue to progress even outside the therapy sessions.
It's essential to highlight that early intervention is key when dealing with speech and hearing disorders. If you suspect that you or a loved one might be struggling, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Remember, there's no need to navigate these challenges alone. The team at Norman Regional is here to provide the support, resources, and care you need to overcome these obstacles.
Speech therapy is not just about improving speech and swallowing; it's about enhancing people's lives. We understand this and are committed to providing comprehensive and empathetic speech and language care to patients.
During Better Speech and Hearing Month, let's spread awareness, encourage early intervention, and celebrate the transformative power of speech therapy. After all, everyone deserves the ability to communicate freely and live their lives to the fullest.
Norman Regional offers speech therapy services at three locations. If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, you can call to schedule an appointment. No referral necessary:
Norman Regional Moore
700 S. Telephone Rd.
Moore, OK 73160
Norman Regional Nine
2000 Ann Branden Blvd.
Norman, OK 73071
Physical Performance Center
724 24th Ave. N.W., Suite 100
Norman, OK 73069