BUCKHANNON, WV – WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital recognizes Better Hearing and Speech month in May, with this year’s theme being “Building a Strong Foundation.”
St. Joseph’s Hospital, and their Speech-Language Pathologist, MacKenzee A. Watson, M.S., CCC-SLP, encourages residents to learn the signs — and seek an evaluation — if they have concerns about themselves or a loved one, since speech, language and swallowing disorders are common following stroke, head and neck cancer, and a variety of other illnesses and injuries. Watson also encourages everyone to get their hearing checked, as hearing loss can affect a person in a variety of ways, from increased risk for physical danger, to mental health problems, cognitive decline, to even affecting personal relationships, career success, and healthcare costs.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) evaluate and treat adults for communication disorders. They help their patients regain the skills important to them for everyday activities. SLPs can help people express and understand both spoken and written communication, attend to and process information, recall important events or details, and solve common problems. They can also help people find alternative ways to communicate if they are having difficulty expressing themselves.
Some adults may develop swallowing problems from the same illnesses or injuries that can cause communication disorders. Swallowing disorders, called dysphagia, can affect a person’s ability to eat, drink, and take medicine, and are also diagnosed and treated by SLPs. SLPs can help a person with dysphagia strengthen their muscles to chew and swallow; identify strategies that make it easier or safer to swallow; and advise people on changes to the textures of their diet, including softer foods. St. Joseph’s Speech Therapy and Imaging Departments now offer Modified Barium Swallow services to Buckhannon and surrounding communities. Modified Barium Swallows are a specialized procedure to help in the diagnosis of dysphagia. An order from a provider is required for all patients. For more information, please call 304-473-2053.
For more information about Hearing and Speech, please visit www.asha.org/public.