Listen Up! Shout Out!

5 years ago

How easily most of us read these words and are able to immediately relate. Listen to what? Shout out what? What should we communicate and when should we do it?

There are so many people who can easily "listen up" or "shout out," the phrases have become cultural idioms in the English Language. Idioms are phases that have an accepted use other than their literal meaning. And so, "listen up" means "pay attention" while "shout out" can literally mean to "shout out" or just to "pass the word around" and tell everyone you know. But, people who have hearing and speech problems cannot always either listen up or shout out. For them, these simple directive phrases, can cause frustration and fear over the inability to express feelings while communicating effectively.

When I was a kid, there was nothing more exciting than staying home from school to watch a space launch. We all knew of Astronaut John Glenn and in February of 1962, it was all anyone talked about. He orbited the earth three times and became a national hero. Later, after his outstanding military career, he became a Senator from the State of Ohio, serving in Congress for twenty-five years.

Senator John Glenn's wife Annie hid a debilitating secret.

With the name "John Glenn" being household word for most of my life, I thought I knew everything about him. What I didn't know was his wife, Annie Glenn, was emotionally suffering for most of those years while her husband was in the limelight. She severely stuttered and was extremely fearful of interacting with anyone outside the Glenn family. She did not get help until she was fifty, but then became fluent after attending a treatment program at HCRI in Roanoke, VA. Now Annie and John Glenn are dedicated to publicly sharing that no one has to isolate themselves due to speech and language inabilities.

John and Annie Glenn encourage all stutterers to get help.

There are many, varied communication treatment options and modalities available, along with innovative outreach methods. The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association or ASHA, found at, is a proactive organization  reaching out to insure help is available for everyone with hearing, speech and language problems. provides a Professional Search Tool Page with easy access to audiologists or speech-language therapists. ASHA's intent is all inclusive, stating that,  in order to enable Communication for a Lifetime, "The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is committed to ensuring that all people with speech, language, and hearing disorders receive services to help them communicate effectively."

John and Annie talk about stuttering being treated into fluency.

Hearing loss and speech difficulties do not always begin at birth or in childhood, but may commence at any stage of life. Many people, who become speech, hearing and language disabled later on, live for years not understanding that their sensory functions are slipping away. Those who have had stokes may not able to fully communicate to their previous level of proficiency overnight. Those who have difficulty speaking, who stutter, have trouble swallowing or keeping their balance when they walk, may be too shy to reach out for help, feeling overwhelmed by perceived obstacles.

ASHA headquarters in Rockville, MD.

So, listen up and shout out to those who might need professional help to ease their inabilities to speak fluently, having any one of a number of speech, language or communication challenges. Shout out to inform others who might need emotional support to get help for themselves. And, listen up, if this is something you, yourself, need. Don't wait to get help.

Opportunities for physical and emotional healing abound. They are there for the asking. Get Help...Don't Wait!

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