Molly’s Story: Better Hearing and Speech Month #BSHM

by Carrie with Children with 10 comments

Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) courtesy of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)?

It’s not something I’ve really talked about too much, but in the first few months after our Molly was diagnosed with Down syndrome, we went through our fair share of hearing tests.  Her ear canals were so small that it made getting a good hearing test nearly impossible.

Molly McLaren Newborn
Here in Florida, newborns receive newborn hearing screenings before they even leave the hospital. However, when Molly didn’t pass the initial test, I wasn’t really sure what that meant for us in terms of next steps. I wish I had done more research in the early months.

Before we left the hospital, we were referred to an audiologist for further evaluation. The team there made us feel at ease and explained the tests in great detail and made sure Molly was in good hands. I had no idea that language and speech played such a large part in proper hearing. After a few months of tests and letting Molly develop further – she ended up passing the tests with no concerns. It was a relief, but looking back it was a great learning experience for us.

Molly McLaren July 2010
Here are some things I wished we had known about newborn hearing screenings before Molly was born –

Things to Know About Newborn Hearing Screening

  • Newborn hearing screening is now considered standard care in the United States, with the vast majority of babies screened for hearing issues within days of birth
  • Screenings look for any type of hearing issue that might impact a child’s ability to develop speech and language, because this is a critical period of time for that to happen and that babies have the best chance for typical speech and language development if they are identified with hearing loss early.
  • If a parent receives a failed screening in their child, there needs to be further testing in the next few weeks of their life
  • If babies don’t pass the rescreen, they should be referred for a full evaluation by an audiologist
  • Follow up is critical because babies are designed to listen for the first nine to 12 months of their lives, and then we look for them to have their first words around 12 months of age
  • If a child has an undiagnosed hearing issue during this time, they miss the window of opportunity to naturally be hearing and learning the sounds of speech

BHSM logo horiz


Learn More About the American Speech-Language-

Hearing Association

As a parent, you never know when you’ll need to delve deeper into the world of communication disorders. Learn more about the American Speech-Language Hearing Association on Facebook and follow along on Twitter at @ASHAWeb. You can also find them on Pinterest and even Google+. Also be sure and check out this podcast from Dr. Patti Martin, Director of Audiology and Speech Pathology at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and an ASHA-certified audiologist.

Does your family have a hearing or speech story?

I’d love for you to share it… 


** I was compensated to write this post by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own and also include my personal experiences. **


  • Karen - DCR

    My SIL is actually a Speech Language pathologist in schools so I think that goes hand and hand with hearing tests and getting help when kids are older. It’s nice knowing someone who is a little more knowledgeable then me when it comes to something like that.

    • Carrie with Children

      Yes! That is wonderful that you have her in your ‘corner’. We’ve relied on our speech language pathologists so much!

  • Becca

    As a former SLP, I LOVE this post! Thanks for giving your experience and tips – it’s so important that parents actually follow-up after a failed screening, and not just assume their children can hear!

    • Carrie with Children

      Ah, I had no idea you were a former SLP! No wonder I like you so much! 😉

  • cori

    It amazes me how amazing technology has become. Tests like this are so important and it’s wonderful that there are specialists available to work with the youngest little patients!!

    Loving the baby photos of miss molly 🙂

    • Carrie with Children

      I agree – technology has come such a long way, love seeing how it helps out doctors too.

  • Emily

    I didn’t know there was a month for this. Thank you for raising more awareness about this. I didn’t know the babies had to pass a hearing test until we had our baby. I also learned last month that speech therapists help with food texture/oral aversion issues. With D’s FPIES we are getting ready to start therapy. Sounds like you had some great docs in your corner with Molly! Also how cute is her newborn picture!! LOVE

    • Carrie with Children

      Speech therapists are my heroes! They are involved with so much more than just talking! So glad to hear it’s been helpful to you all too.

  • Hanan

    I’m glad they do hearing testing early on. Always better to catch things right away. My four year old has been in speech therapy for a year now. It’s been wonderful for her, and has helped tremendously!

    • Carrie with Children

      So glad to hear that speech therapy has helped your daughter, Hanan!