Hear ye, hear ye: May is Speech & Hearing Awareness Month!

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Deaf & Hear Alberta is hosting its 2nd Annual Safe Sound Awards.

Written by: Alia Bharwani, Hearing Services Coordinator & Kylie Bradbury, Peer Mentoring Coordinator at Deaf & Hear Alberta

Safe Sound Awards raises awareness about hearing health and hearing loss. In support of May being Speech & Hearing Awareness Month, we want Calgarians to participate in Safe Sound Awards.

Sound represents a variety of things to different people, all ultimately connecting us to our environment. It is all around us, impacting many facets of our lives. It is family conversation at the dinner table, leaves rustling, music playing, heavy traffic and so much more. Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and like all things in life, there are healthy and harmful levels.

In general, sounds 85 dB and below are in the safe zone while sounds above 85 dB can start to cause damage inside the ear. Safe and harmful sound levels are also highly dependent on how long, how often and use of hearing protection.

Continuous dB Examples Permissible Exposure time
85 dB Noisy restaurant 8 hours
88 dB Window air conditioner 4 hours
94 dB Subway 1 hour
103 dB School dance 7.5 min
106 dB Leaf blower 3.75 min
112 dB Jackhammer Approx. 1 min


There are numerous benefits to ensuring the protection and management of our hearing. How can you help maintain your hearing? Limit time using ear buds, check the volume on TVs and stereos, wear ear plugs to concerts, and adhere to occupational & safety guidelines at work. Maintaining hearing health also includes using appropriate hearing devices such as hearing aids or personal amplifiers.

Changes in hearing health can impact a person’s physical, social and emotional health. If you or someone you love is already living with hearing loss, there are ways to improve communication. Here are some suggestions:

Set the stage. Find places that have soft surfaces such carpets, tablecloths, curtains and/or places that are well lit which makes it easier to see body language and facial expressions.

Communicate effectively. When speaking to a person with hearing loss– make sure you have their attention before speaking and keep your face visible. Move closer to the person you are speaking to, speak at a moderate pace and use a normal volume of voice. Most importantly, be patient and open to repetition; use alternate phrasing if needed.

We invite you to nominate hearing friendly places that allow for conversation, fun and connection to those around us. Then vote. Pick you favourites and as a community we will celebrate Calgarian’s favourite hearing friendly spaces with the Safe Sound Awards. Let’s celebrate Speech and Hearing Awareness Month together!

To be involved visit: http://hearalberta.ca/safe-sound-awards/

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