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WHEREAS, Better Hearing and Speech Month was initially national recognized by President Ronald Reagan on May 21, 1986; and
WHEREAS, approximately 15% of adults aged 18 and older report some trouble hearing, increasing to at least 33% of adults aged 65-74; and an estimated 17.9 million adults experience difficulty speaking; and
WHEREAS, about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from the use of hearing aids and/or assistive technology, but less than 30% of them has ever used hearing aids, and many people with difficulty speaking do not seek treatment; and
WHEREAS, undetected hearing loss in young children can result in language deprivation which can have lasting negative impacts on their social, emotional, and academic development and success; and
WHEREAS, hearing loss can be prevented through the use of noise canceling earphones or earplugs and reducing noise exposure, and can be detected through hearing screenings; and
WHEREAS, the theme of Better Hearing and Speech Month 2020 is “Communication at Work,” which aligns with the Governor’s Executive Order Forty-Seven ensuring employment equity for Virginians with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, despite communication challenges, individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or who have difficulty speaking are successful and productive residents who contribute to the economic well-being and social fabric of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing raising awareness to these issues benefits the Commonwealth;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 2020 as BETTER HEARING AND SPEECH MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.