Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dr Frazier Discussed the Dangers of Noisy Toys

From church bells to ringers on toys, the sounds of the holiday season can get pretty loud. That noise can be an assault on your ears and cause damage.

Today on FOX 2 KTVI Channel 2, Dr. K.B. Frazier, Chief Audiologist from the Center for Hearing & Speech discussed the dangers of noisy toys and ear bud usage with kids and teens.


Join Us for Center's Young Friends' Trivia Night on Saturday, Feb. 4

Buy your tickets and assemble your trivia team now!

Join the Young Friends, Saturday Feb. 4, for a night of trivia, fun and games to support the Center for Hearing & Speech.

The fundraiser will feature 10 rounds of questions with raffles and games between rounds, so be sure to bring some extra cash!

Tables are limited to teams of 8 (21 years or older). Buy your table online in advance for $160. Tables prices go up to $180 after Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Location is the Laborers' Local 42 at 301 South Ewing Ave., St. Louis, MO. Attended parking included. See you there!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Come Sing Holiday Carols with the Center!

Help spread some cheer and support area children on Saturday, December 10 at 1:00 pm. Join the Center's volunteers and staff for an afternoon of glee and caroling at #1 The Boulevard in Richmond Heights to help support the St. Louis Christmas Carols AssociationGarage and street parking are available off of Galleria Parkway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Remember Center for Hearing & Speech on Giving Tuesday

It's #GivingTuesday! After a holiday weekend full of friends and family, take a few minutes today to give to a cause you believe in.

Please support the Center, our life-changing programs and most of all: the people we serve.

Thank you and please know your gift has a profound impact!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Scientists Study Communication Disorders Via TalkBank Research Project

Talkbank is a massive open-source research project bringing together scientists from different backgrounds to study and share info on communication development and disorders.
TalkBank will foster fundamental research in the study of human and animal communication to advance the development of standards and tools.

Read more…

A Big Thank You to All of Center's Volunteers, Donors & Supporters!

This week we recognize #NationalPhilanthropyDay, a celebration of donors and the causes they champion. Thank you so much to all of our supporters. You are truly changing lives!

Know Your Rights as a Donor and Supporter

Leading philanthropic groups created the #DonorBillofRights to ensure trust and confidence of donors and charities.

Louder Isn't Better When Speaking to Someone With Hearing Loss

According to Living With Hearing Loss, a blog for people living with hearing loss, loudness is definitely an important component — whispers are killer — but once the loudness reaches a certain level, increasing the volume further doesn’t help and can sometimes make it worse. It is really the clarity of the sound that becomes important. And the context clues. Shouting is always counterproductive because it makes it much harder to read someone’s lips if they are distorted from yelling!

So what can help someone with hearing loss hear and understand better? Assuming the speaker is facing the listener, not covering his mouth while he talks and has done his best to reduce background noise, there are a few other things besides shouting that he can try.

Speech-Language Disorders Are Often Mistaken for Bad Behavior

According to The Guardian, it's important to give teachers the training and resources to spot signs of a speech-language disorder, get a formal evaluation and prevent a student from being branded as a "bad kid."

Developmental language disorders are surprisingly common; our recent population study revealed that 7.5% of children starting in a mainstream reception classroom in Surrey had clinically significant language deficits that impacted on their ability to learn in the classroom. That is two children in every class of 30!

This means that language disorder is far more common than other childhood conditions that are more familiar to the general public, such as autism and dyslexia. Developmental language disorder is probably the most common childhood condition you have never heard of.

One reason is that language disorders are often misinterpreted as bad behaviour. Language is a great tool for regulating our emotions and behaviour and is also necessary for understanding what others are saying to us, following instructions, negotiating with others, and explaining how we feel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Center Celebrates 96 Years of Serving the Greater St. Louis Community

Happy birthday to us! This Week, the Center for Hearing & Speech turns 96 years old.

The Center was originally founded in 1920 as the League for the Hard of Hearing and has been improving the lives of people with communication disorders in St. Louis ever since.

Stuttering Foundation Encourages Use of the Free "I Stutter" Identification Card

This week kicks off multiple events around the world focusing on International Stuttering Awareness. At this time, our Center doubles its efforts to educate, increase acceptance and help eliminate any stigma around stuttering.

If you or someone you love stutters, consider printing and using this "I Stutter Card." The Stuttering Foundation designed it to help people identify themselves in a nonverbal way as someone who may have trouble speaking.

Read More… 

The New Yorker Reviews the Oscar-Winning Short Film, “Stutterer” About Anxiety, Love & Living With Stuttering

The new Screening Room short, “Stutterer,” won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film this year. It’s a thirteen-minute movie about a young London typographer named Greenwood (Matthew Needham). Greenwood stutters, to the extent that verbal conversation is difficult. When he tries to resolve an issue with a service representative over the phone, he can’t get the words out; the operator, gruff and impatient, hangs up. (For surliness, she rivals the operator in the old Yaz song.) When a woman approaches Greenwood on the street, he uses sign language to avoid talking. But in his thoughts, which we hear, he does not stutter. And when he chats online with a woman named Ellie (Chloe Pirrie) he can express himself freely, and is casual, charming, and content. When Ellie writes that she’s coming to London, he panics. How he navigates her visit provides the film’s narrative and emotional suspense.

The writer and director of “Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary, is a thirty-two-year-old graduate of University College Dublin and of the London Film School. He now lives in Dublin. Cleary is not a stutterer himself.

Read More…

Insects Help Researchers Blend Biology, Medicine and Engineering to Develop Better Hearing Aids

The human ear is a miracle of mechanical evolution. It allows us to hear an astonishing range of sounds and to communicate and navigate in the world. It’s also easy to damage and difficult to repair. Hearing aids are still large, uncomfortable and as yet unable to deliver the rich and wonderful sounds we take for granted. Yet there may be a new way for us to replace damaged hearing from an unlikely source – the insect world.

Spend a summer in the countryside in a warm climate and you’ll likely hear crickets chirping, males of the species “singing” in an attempt to attract a female. What’s surprising is how small the creatures are given the very high sound levels they produce. Could studying crickets allow us to learn something about how to design a small speaker that is also loud, just as you need for a hearing aid?

Read More…

Once Upon a Time, “Head of Shrewmouse, Stomach of Goat, Shell of Tortoise" Treated Deafness

According to the Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press), there is little agreement on when the particular branch of science known as ‘audiology’ really begins. Much depends upon one’s view of what constitutes audiology. Definitions vary slightly but basically all agree that audiology is the science, study, measurement, or treatment of hearing, hearing loss, and associated disorders. Although the word ‘audiology’ itself seems not to have come into use until after World War II, the study of hearing and hearing defects began many centuries before.

Read more…

Does My Toddler Have Normal Speech & Hearing Development?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has common guidelines for kids’ development. If you have questions or concerns call the Center at 314-968-4710 and schedule an evaluation for your child.


Fox2Now Hosts Center's Chief Speech-Language Pathologist on National Stuttering Awareness Day

As part of October's National Stuttering Awareness effort, the Center for Hearing and Speech is working to educate the  St. Louis area on the truth about stuttering. This weekend, Chief Speech-Language Pathologist Gina Cato discussed with FOX 2 that stuttering is often surrounded by a number of misconceptions.

People stutter in many different ways. For example, while some people repeat sounds while talking, other individuals who stutter have silent blocks that cause hesitations and gaps in their speech. Society has developed a stereotypical perception of stuttering, Cato explained, and this misunderstanding can often lead to a misdiagnosis from the public. In the end, it is important to remember that stuttering is simply the disruption of fluent speech. And no matter how an individual may stutter, individualized treatment is available to help overcome these obstacles.  


October is Aphasia Awareness Month

According to, language disorders can make it difficult for kids to understand what people are saying to them and to express their own thoughts and feelings through speech. They can also affect how kids learn and socialize. If you’re concerned your child has a language disorder, you’re not alone. They’re surprisingly common childhood conditions. And there are many ways to treat them.
Learning more about language disorders is a good first step toward helping your child. Read on for key facts about language disorders and suggestions for how you can help your child.
Read More…

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Venue Enhances Sound for Audience Hearing Aids

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, audience members who have assistive hearing devices will be able to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other performers at Heinz Hall with greater ease.
The Downtown venue is the first theater in Western Pennsylvania to install an electromagnetic hearing loop.
Installed in August, the Dauler Hearing Loop encapsulates much of the Heinz Hall auditorium, along with the box office. The wire is connected to a sound system that electromagnetically transmits sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants that have a telecoil, or t-coil. Patrons who use such devices need to enable their t-coils at the hall. The system eliminates most background noise, the symphony said. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Study Suggests Hearing Aids May Help Lessen Cognitive Decline

According to Audiology Today, since communication difficulties are one of the earliest signs of dementia, audiologists are poised to make timely and appropriate referrals when necessary, which can improve long-term outcomes by allowing earlier diagnosis and management of cognitive decline.

Cognitive decline and hearing loss is a current hot topic in audiology. While recent findings offer compelling incentives for adult patients to make the jump to accept hearing aids, we must be careful to present the information accurately to patients and avoid unintentionally using misinformation as a scare tactic. Let’s look at what we know.

Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults, and we know that very few people have no cognitive decline with age. This presents a large overlap of older adults with both hearing loss and cognitive decline; a population  which will only grow with the aging of today’s adults. In 2010, 4.7 million people in the U.S. older than age 65 had the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. In 2016, that number grew to 5.4 million; and in 2050, 13.8 million Americans are expected to have Alzheimer’s.


New Smartphone-Based Tech Aims to Protect the Hearing of Concert Goers

The Center promotes proper hearing protection for all ages and pursuits.

In an age of super-loud rock concerts, the makers of EarDial are launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign today to raise money for their discreet and comfortable hearing protection.

They can replace foam ear plugs and are especially designed for ear-splitting live music. The EarDial plugs serve as high-fidelity filters that allow you to enjoy music and still chat with friends without messing up the quality of the sound. They’re almost invisible when you put them in your ears, and they come with a compact silver carrying case.


Actress Emily Blunt Beats Stuttering By Using a Fake Accent On Stage

Actress Emily Blunt struggled with stuttering early in her life. A teacher encouraged her to act in a school play at age 12 despite her stuttering.

Blunt’s name is prominently featured on the Stuttering Foundation's list of Famous People Who Stutter
Emily Blunt burst into the limelight with her brilliant performance in the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada, but had gained attention previously with My Summer of Love in 2004. Emily Blunt’s journey to fame began in London on February 23, 1983 when she was born to barrister Oliver Blunt and her teacher mother, who herself had enjoyed an acting career on stage and television before marrying and having a family. Emily’s uncle is Crispin Blunt, the well-known Conservative Member of Parliament. Blunt’s early life was filled with many fun activities at which she excelled, such as singing, playing cello and horseback riding. However, Blunt never considered following in her mother’s footsteps in acting because of her stuttering.


MIT Pioneers Automated Screening for Childhood Communication Disorders

Massachusetts Institute of Technology students are developing new tech to expand screening for language disorders. Smartphones and tablets could help early detection efforts, which is vital for treatment.

For children with speech and language disorders, early-childhood intervention can make a great difference in their later academic and social success. But many such children — one study estimates 60 percent — go undiagnosed until kindergarten or even later.

According to MIT News, researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions hope to change that, with a computer system that can automatically screen young children for speech and language disorders and, potentially, even provide specific diagnoses.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thanks to Theresa, Center Volunteer!

Thank you, Theresa! You returned to the Center as an awesome volunteer & assisted us in the clinic a total of 30 hours so far this year. We appreciate you very much!

Center Conducts Screenings at Lift For Life Academy

Center for Hearing & Speech stopped by the Lift For Life Academy campus August 22 to give students hearing and vision screenings to make sure they have the resources to be ready and capable to excel in the classroom!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Allergies Can Cause Hearing Distortion & Speech Problems in Toddlers

When my son, Carter, was a toddler, I couldn't help noticing that he did not react to my voice or loud sounds and rarely looked me in the eye. He would line up his toys and play alone, oblivious of who was around him. He would startle until I grasped his little hands to get him to look at me. By age two and a half, the age his sister was babbling multiple clear words, my son's words were few and mostly unintelligible.

I was very concerned, so I pointed it out to our First Steps nurse. First Steps is Missouri's Early Intervention system that provides services to families with children, birth to three years of age, with disabilities or developmental delays. To calm my fears about Autism, she referred me to a neurologist, an allergist and a speech pathologist. 

Although my son passed all of his Autism tests, the SLP tests gave me a long list of sounds my son couldn't make. The practitioner commented that his speech was like that of someone speaking underwater. However, she noticed Carter spoke much better when she used a microphone, which told us the problem was his ears, not his brain.

The allergist ran a battery of skin scratch tests, revealing that my son was allergic to a lot of airborne stuff, like tree and grass pollen, cats, feathers, dust mites and mold. He found that my son's ear passages and sinuses were full of fluid, most likely his body's response to allergens in the air. Right after his third birthday, my son was hospitalized to have drainage tubes installed in both ears. 

On the way home from the hospital, my son looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Mommy, you sound funny." Within a week, we noticed him being more social and reactive to sound and music, joining his sister in dancing to their Disney video soundtracks. The SLP said Carter was making good progress with his speech therapy, which we continued for a full year to help him catch up with the other kids in his preschool.  The ear drainage tubes, combined with ear plugs for pool and bath time and allergy meds for playing outside, worked well in place for two years. By the time he was old enough for kindergarten, Carter no longer had any speech difficulties. With his hearing and speech restored, he was selected for our school district's Talented And Gifted (TAG) elementary and middle school programs. 

As a teenager and later in college, Carter has attracted a big circle of friends, loves concerts and attends every school dance he can.  

If you are a parent with any questions or concerns about your child's mental and communications progress, start with a call to Missouri First Steps, at  866-583-2392. Center for Hearing & Speech can then assist you with SLP evaluations to ensure that your child's communication skills are developed to their full potential; call us at 314-968-4710.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five Things Treating Hearing Loss Says About You

Here are 5 illuminating things treating hearing loss says about you: 

1: You value relationships! People who use hearing aids are more likely to have a strong social network. 

 2: You like to Be Active! Those who use hearing aids are more likely to meet up with friends for exercise. 
3: You Love Life! People who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic and feel engaged in life. 
4: You Value You Happiness! Those who use hearing aids get more pleasure from doing things and are less likely to feel down. 
5: You are a go-getter! People who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems.

Not Cured...But Improved

Check out this article from the The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association about how conversational and memory supports can help maximize communication for clients with Alzheimer’s dementia.

There is no cure for dementia—the inevitable result of increasing cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease, the progressive neurocognitive disorder. Speech-language pathologists need to focus “treatment” on managing symptoms with the goal of decreasing disability and maximizing functional abilities.

For SLPs, however, traditional models of rehabilitation and goal-setting involve an expectation of improvement, or at least stability—not decline—in function. So, when working with people with Alzheimer’s dementia, SLPs may have questions about how to best approach treatment. In my experience, the key is to facilitate specific communication behaviors related to everyday activities and life participation.

Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

Does handwriting versus keyboarding have an impact on how children learn to engage with written language? 

In an article this year in The Journal of Learning Disabilities, researchers looked at how oral and written language related to attention and what are called “executive function” skills (like planning) in children in grades four through nine, both with and without learning disabilities.
Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the lead author on the study, told me that evidence from this and other studies suggests that “handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.”

Congrats to Jace, Center Speech-Language Program Grad!

Jace is now in kindergarten. He graduated from the Center's Speech-Language Program in the summer of 2015. He began therapy with us when he was only two years old. Therapy focused on acquiring words which he learned to combine into sentences. He also worked on his developmental speech sound production, understanding oral directions and answering questions about a story or event.
Jace made great strides in his development and graduated from the program. Yeah Jace!
Jace visited us yesterday and told his therapist, Miss Kimberly, that he is excited to go to his new school and that he is very happy. Jace is entering kindergarten with the speech-language skills necessary for him to learn to read and write and to have fun with lots of new friends.
Can we ask for anything more?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Recertification for the Center's Volunteer Program!

The Center's volunteer program has met the quality standards for volunteer program administration by the United Way of Greater St. Louis' Volunteer Center, and we received our recertification through August 31st, 2017! 

In addition, our Volunteer Manual and volunteer recognition activities were recognized as local best practices!

Center's Mission & History Show Our Dedication to St Louisans Since 1920

The Center for Hearing & Speech improves the quality of life for individuals with hearing and speech disorders by providing caring and high quality services, regardless of one’s ability to pay, and continually striving to address a greater portion of the unmet need relating to speech and audiology in the St. Louis region.

The Center for Hearing & Speech is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that reduces the impact communication disorders—the nation’s No. 1 disability—can have on the health and well being of individuals in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Center’s primary goal is to identify, treat, and prevent communication disorders by offering speech-language and audiology services to infants, children, and adults, whether or not they have the insurance and/or financial resources to afford these services. On-site and outreach efforts provide identification and treatment of communication problems among needy and low-income populations who would not otherwise have access to such services.

Founded in 1920 as the League for the Hard of Hearing, the agency originally focused on the social and financial needs of people with hearing loss. By the 1930’s it had developed into a full service audiology clinic offering community education and screenings, evaluations, and treatment options for those with hearing problems. In 1965, the agency added services to individuals with speech disorders. In 1969, the Center developed the School Screening Program to provide hearing and vision tests for area students. The Center’s services expanded over the years to include diagnostic testing and the dispensing of hearing aids in 1975. Today, the Center is an established and unique facility for audiology and speech-language pathology, serving more than 10,000 individuals annually.

Got a Slow Talker & a Noisy House?

Web MD Says Noisy Homes Can Slow a Toddler's Vocabulary. Limit background chatter when teaching new words. 

Researchers from the university assessed the ability of 106 children, aged 22 to 30 months, to learn new words. They found they were more successful when their surroundings were quiet than when there was background noise.

But providing the children with additional language cues helped them overcome the detrimental effects of a noisy environment, according to the study. The findings appear July 21 in the journal Child Development.

Check out the whole story below families can assist toddlers with their speech growth.

Ongoing Speech-Language Services Build Kids' Confidence

Your contributions enable us to provide ongoing Speech-Language services to clients like J’Shawn, a bright 9-year old boy, who’s been working hard to improve his verbal skills.
Although he has a beautiful, endearing smile, J’Shawn is a little shy in school due to his speech difficulties, but his mother has seen his confidence increase since receiving speech therapy and at home, J’Shawn has been engaging more with his brother and sisters. His condition demonstrates that the inability to speak clearly can impede social and academic growth. We have professionals who can address these problems and develop personalized therapy for each client.
To help other children in need of services, please donate online. Many thanks!

Join Young Friends' Happy Hour on August 30th!

Hey, check out the Young Friends happy hour, scheduled for later this month! If you haven’t joined Young Friends yet, plan on attending. They are a group of young people, looking to spread the word about what the Center does for those who need audiology and speech-language services in the St. Louis community who may not be able to afford this help. 
More info on this fun event coming soon!

SLP Job Opening!

Here is another opportunity to join this fantastic staff team!

We have an immediate opening for a full-time ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. 

For more information about this position, please email Gina Cato, Chief Speech-Language Pathologist at

Back to School Therapy Donations Needed

A smile from a child that has had therapy to help overcome a communication disorder is worth far more than you can imagine. Your donation of any amount helps the Center provide speech-language therapy for children to communicate clearly with their parents, teachers and friends. Your gift is priceless. Please use this link to bring priceless smiles to faces of other St. Louis children when they return to school this fall!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Welcome Back, Jess!

We are happy to announce that Jessica Hall is back with the Center staff. Jessica joins us in the position of Billing Specialist. Welcome back Jess!

Thanks to Center Volunteer, Midori!

The Center wishes our long-time superstar volunteer, Midori, the best of luck with her new job and can not thank her enough for her 190 hours of volunteering over the last year and a half. Thanks again Midori, and best wishes!
Midori with Center Communications & Volunteer Mgr, Charles Moreland