Savannah Speech & Hearing Center

2016 Sound Start Volunteer of the Year!

Congratulations to our 2016 Sound Start Volunteer of the Year, Andrew Jones! Thank you so much for volunteering Andrew!

I HAVE MARKS TO MAKE’ Art Exhibit at the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center

The SSHC Stroke Group has about 20 pieces in the ‘I HAVE MARKS TO MAKE’ Art Exhibit at the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center in Savannah.

The 35th annual Hammond for Hope Dinner and Auction


The 35th annual Hammond for Hope Dinner and Auction to benefit the Savannah Speech & Hearing Center’s Sound Start School was held at Hope Point Plantation on Sept. 18.

The article below was published in the Savannah Morning News from columnist Bunny Ware (Bunny in the City).

Read the full article here:

Diabetes Management and Your Hearing


By Sheana A. Richardson, Au.D, Savannah Speech & Hearing Center

According to the Better Hearing Institute, research shows people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop hearing loss. In fact, the American Diabetes Association claims nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and an estimated 34.5 million have some type of hearing loss, making diabetes and hearing loss two of America’s most widespread health concerns.

In fact, another recent study found hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as opposed to those without and of the 86 million adults in the U.S. who have pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is an incredible 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose.

While the exact root cause of how diabetes is linked to hearing loss is not known, some experts believe it’s possible high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes cause damage to the small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys. It’s unfortunate, however, hearing tests are frequently overlooked in routine diabetes care.

Since hearing loss can happen slowly, the symptoms can often be hard to notice and most often it’s family members and friends who are the first to notice the hearing loss before the person experiencing it.

Here are some common signs of hearing loss:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Trouble following conversations that involve more than two people
  • Thinking that others are mumbling
  • Problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants
  • Trouble hearing the voices of women and small children
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby

No matter your age or health issue, regular hearing screenings are just as important as getting your eyes and cholesterol checked. It’s helpful to have a baseline to refer to in the event of future issues. Unaddressed hearing loss can interfere with good diabetes management and if left untreated is often associated with other significant physical, mental, and emotional health conditions.

The Better Hearing Institute and American Diabetes Association both offer some very helpful information on hearing loss and diabetes. If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, it’s recommended to consult with a hearing specialist such as an audiologist. A full hearing exam will help you discover just how significant the hearing loss is and treatment options available.


Sheana A. Richardson, Au.D., is an audiologist at Savannah Speech and Hearing Center. To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 912-355-4601 or email at

Special Yoga Class to Benefit the Sound Start Program

WHAT: Nada Normal Yoga Workshop to Benefit Sound Start. The Savannah community is invited to come experience how your sonic environment can create harmony or discord in your life and explore opportunities to retune your body and mind awareness at a special all-levels yoga workshop. Proceeds will benefit the Sound Start program of Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, an auditory and oral preschool for children experiencing hearing loss in Savannah and the surrounding communities of Georgia and South Carolina.

WHERE: Sulfur Studios Annex

2301 Bull St.
Savannah, Ga. 31401

WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016 – 4-6 p.m.

COST: $15

MORE: To sign up and for more information, email

Up-Words Reading® at Savannah Speech and Hearing Center

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center is pleased to announce the addition of a major new tool to its reading therapy practice: the Up-Words Reading® program.

The Center chose this reading program because of the research that went into developing it, and the appealing materials.  It is a comprehensive program designed to facilitate successful reading. It is not a program designed to teach school subjects, but to give a child the tools needed to read.

Up-Words Reading® is a new early literacy program providing the most comprehensive, systematic and integrated reading instruction available. It is the result of years of experience in both reading instruction and speech-language therapy, and carefully follows research driven evidence-based practices, including the proven methods of Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (LIPS). Up-Words Reading® combines phonics, fluency, sight words, reading comprehension, spelling, handwriting and phonological awareness into daily lesson plans that build strong reading foundations in young learners.

It is a multi-sensory method, demonstrated to improve memory formation in all styles of learners. The custom-written, decodable readers feature appealing characters in ongoing adventures, helping draw young readers into the stories and associate reading, from the beginning, with success and fun.

“With  Up-Words Reading® our goal was to provide teachers, tutors, therapists and parents with a comprehensive early literacy program that contains everything they need to be assured they’re providing second-to-none reading education to their young students,” said Lorie S. Delk, creator of Up-Words Reading®. “The Savannah Speech and Hearing Center shares that passion for helping  young people learn not only to read, but to love reading. We are delighted they have selected Up-Words Reading® for their practice.”

Savannah Speech and Hearing Center is the leading provider of speech therapy, audiology and reading therapy services in the Savannah area.

For more information about Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, and our many services, call 912-355-4601.

10 Ways a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help Your Child

Speech-Language Pathologists, or SLPs, are specialists that help children in a wide-range of ages with speech, talking and communication. Some may think that they only need to see a speech-language pathologist if their child has a lisp or stutter. Speech-Language Pathologists do so much more than you originally thought–from mild articulation delays to more complex disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, hearing loss, motor speech disorder and other developmental delays.

It is best to catch and correct a speech-language delay or disorder when the child is young. If you think your child may have trouble with communication, talking or speech, it is best to see a professional so they can begin working with your child to correct the delay or disorder as soon as possible. A child’s ability to communicate with others directly correlates to their quality of life.

Take a look and see how an SLP can help your child:

  1. Articulation Skills / Speech Intelligibility

Articulation is defined as the physical ability to move the tongue, lips, jaw and palate to produce individual speech sounds. Intelligibility refers to how well people can understand your child’s speech. If your child’s articulation is compromised, his intelligibility will be decreased. SLPs can work with your child to produce the specific speech sound or pattern that he / she is having difficulty with. This will have a direct and positive effect on his/her overall speech intelligibility.

  1. Expressive Language Skills

Speech involves the physical motor ability to talk. Language is defined as a symbolic, rule governed system used to convey a message. Language can be anything from spoken or written words and symbols to gestural symbols like a thumbs-up to indicate “I am or that is ok” or waving your hand to indicate “goodbye”. Expressive language refers to what your child says. SLPs can help your child learn new words, put them together to form phrases and sentences, and in turn, help your child communicate with you and others.

  1. Receptive Language / Listening Skills

Receptive language is your child’s ability to listen and understand language. Typically, you will see children with stronger receptive language skills than expressive language skills. SLPs have the tools to help teach your child learn new vocabulary and how to use that knowledge to follow directions and answer questions.

  1. Speech Fluency / Stuttering

Stuttering is a communication disorder that affects speech fluency, characterized by breaks in the flow of speech such as repetitions, prolongations, interjections and blocks, and typically begins in childhood. Everyone experiences this to an extent but too many breaks in speech can affect one’s ability to communicate. In more severe cases, you may see tension in the neck, shoulders, face, jaw, chest, eye blinks, nose flaring, clenched fists or other unusual movements in the arms, hands, legs and feet. SLPs can aid your child by teaching strategies on how to control this behavior.

  1. Voice and Resonance

Voice disorders affect the vocal folds that allow us to have a voice. This can come in many forms including vocal cord paralysis, nodules or polyps on the vocal folds, and other disorders that cause hoarseness or loss of voice. Resonance is defined as the quality of the voice that is determined by the balance of sound vibration in the oral, nasal and pharyngeal cavities during speech. Obstruction of one of the cavities can cause abnormal resonance. Hoarseness is common young children and is caused by vocal abuse such as yelling, excessive talking, coughing and throat clearing. SLPs work with children to decrease or eliminate these behaviors and repair the strain/damage of the folds.

  1. Social / Pragmatic Language

Social / pragmatic language is the way an individual uses language to communicate and involves using language to communicate in different ways (greeting, protesting, asking questions, etc), changing language according to the people or place it is being used (inside vs. outside voice) and following the rules for conversation (taking turns in conversation and using verbal and nonverbal cues). SLPs teach your child these social language skills so that they can more appropriately participate in conversations with others.

  1. Cognitive-Communication Skills

Cognitive-communication disorders are the impairment of cognitive processes including attention, memory, abstract reasoning and awareness. Children can be born with these deficits or they can be acquired due to a head injury, stroke, or degenerative disease. SLPs can help build skills and / or teach your child methods to assist them in their deficits.

  1. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC is all forms of communication (other than oral speech) used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas. AAC is used when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write. SLPs number one goal is communication. For some children that have severe delays or disorders, having traditional oral speech is not possible or practical. In these cases, SLPs may work with a child and his/her family to come up with an AAC system that can be used in place of speech or used as a bridge to speech.

  1. Swallowing / Feeding Issues

SLPs can be trained (in addition to speech and language issues) in pediatric swallowing and feeding issues. SLP’s have intimate knowledge of the structures and functions of the oral cavities.

  1. Reading

SLPs are often the first professionals to identify the root cause of reading and writing problems through a child’s difficulty with language. SLPs help children build the skills they need to be successful readers by:

  • preventing written language problems by fostering language acquisition and emergent literacy
  • identifying children at risk for reading and writing problems
  • assessing reading and writing
  • providing intervention and documenting outcomes for reading and writing programs
  • assuming other roles when needed such as providing assistance to teachers and parents, and advocating for effective literacy practices.
  1. Educating and Empowering YOU on how to best help your child.

The best thing an SLP can do for your child is to educate you and empower you on how to best help your child. You are the one who spends the most time with your child, so you can have the biggest impact on their growth and improvement. Once you equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence, you can be the best “speech therapist” for your child. So do not hesitate to ask questions, take notes, do homework and work closely with your child’s SLP. Together, you and your SLP can make an amazing team for your child’s speech and language needs.

For more information visit or

Celebrating the Sound Start Class of 2016, An Auditory/Oral Program for Children with Hearing Loss

We were pleased to honor the Sound Start Class of 2016 on June 1.  The Class of 2016 included two graduates who will move on to K-5 this fall.

The two graduates moving on to K-5 earned reading, sight word reading and math awards.  Additional awards were given to other students including phonics listening award, the award for reading over 200 books with parents, as well as citizenship and friendship awards.  All students presented progress performances in areas of listening, reading, language development, vocabulary, phonemic awareness and speech.

This year’s ceremony was themed “Horton Hears A Who…What, When, Where and Why”, representing the ability to break through communication barriers to become a strong oral/aural communicator who is able to understand and use spoken language.

“Our goal is to teach children with hearing loss to listen, speak and understand spoken language in order to be successful in a mainstream educational setting,” said Tracey Edenfield, teacher of the deaf at Sound Start.  “I could not be more proud of the class of 2016 and all that they have achieved in order to move on to the next level in their education.”

In August 2007, the Board of Directors of Savannah Speech and Hearing Center approved the Sound Start program, a never-before-available service in this area – an auditory/oral preschool program. With the help of dedicated staff and community support as well as a coordinated effort with Calvary Day School in Savannah, Sound Start opened its doors to children with hearing loss of Savannah and the surrounding communities in Georgia and South Carolina whose families had chosen spoken language as the communication option for their child. Thus far, the program has been an overwhelming success.

Tracey Edenfield, teacher of the deaf at Sound Start, poses with Horton of Horton Hears a Who!.

Tracey Edenfield, teacher of the deaf at Sound Start, poses with Horton of Horton Hears a Who!.

Sound Start Class of 2016.

Sound Start Class of 2016.

Members of the Sound Start Class of 2016 wearing their cap and gowns during the graduation ceremony.

Members of the Sound Start Class of 2016 wearing their cap and gowns during the graduation ceremony.


Since 1954, Savannah Speech and Hearing has been committed to providing comprehensive services to children and adults with speech, language, and/or hearing problems regardless of financial status in order for them to lead a happy and rewarding life.  Savannah Speech and Hearing offers a wide range of programs including Sound Start, audiology, speech, hearing aids, cochlear implants, information resource center, and other specialized programs.  All Savannah Speech and Hearing speech-language pathologists and audiologists are certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and are licensed by the Georgia State Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. For more information, call 912.355.4601.

Better Hearing and Speech Month: You Want to Lose Your Ears?

We found a great infographic to learn what objects can harm your hearing as well as quick facts and recommendations on how you can preserve your hearing! Check out some of the tips below.

Did you know? We have approximately 15,000 hair cells in each ear! That seems like a lot, right? Well, loud noises and prolonged exposure to high volume levels can damage the cells easier than you might think. And once the cells are gone, they are gone.

In the infographic below, you will see a few examples of what objects at a certain volume can damage your hearing. A good rule to go by to prevent hearing loss from these objects is this: If someone is 3 feet away and you cannot what they are saying, that means the noise level could be damaging to your ears! Take a look and see how you can prevent hearing loss.

Fun fact: Here are a few celebrities that suffer from hearing loss: Neil Young, Sting, Bono, Thorne Yorke, Phil Collins, Sylvester Stallone. Do you see a common thread between some of these celebrities? Hint: Most are in the music industry.

For more information, visit

Patricia Vansa, mother of Peyton (a Sound Start student) was selected for the WLC success stories series

Patricia Vansa, mother of Peyton (A Sound Start Student), and recipient of the Women’s Legacy Council transportation assistance was selected for the WLC success stories series.

Watch this video to see how The United Way’s Women’s Legacy Council and Savannah Speech and Hearing Center have had an impact on Patricia Vansa, a Sound Start parent and mother of two hearing impaired boys.

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