May is Speech and Hearing Month: Reflecting on what communication means to you



A message from Dr. Evan Adams, FNHA Deputy Chief Medical Officer; and Aatma Seegobin, MBA, FNHA Manager, Benefits Management

​May is Speech and Hearing Month. It's an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the importance of speech and hearing in our communications with each other. It's also an opport​unity for us to give you information about how the First Nations Health Authority's (FNHA) Health Benefits program can help you if you are a First Nations person living in BC.​

This year's theme for Speech and Hearing Month is “Communication is…"  Each of us will have a different reason and way to finish the sentence. For example: Communication is… about connecting with each other. Communication is… sharing a moment. Communication is… learning from others or transmitting knowledge to others." Communication is… letting someone know you love them.

Whatever communication means to you, there's no question it's an important part of our daily lives. Imagine how your ability to communicate and connect with others would be impacted if something took away your ability to speak or hear. ​​

Unfortunately, one in six people in Canada will be diagnosed with a speech or hearing disorder. Among them is our FNHA colleague Anita Christoff, who has congenital hearing loss. Anita says that an impaired ability to communicate with other people, especially on the phone, is among the challenges of living with a hearing problem. Other challenges include becoming fatigued from straining to hear all day, speaking too loudly, and being unable to hear lecturers or speakers in group settings like university classes or work meetings. Anita, who is a member of Saulteau First Nations, says she is grateful for the FNHA's Health Benefits program, as well as today's higher-tech hearing aids and the “closed / live captions" available for Zoom/Teams meetings and movies. She is also grateful for being able to work as a writer/editor, as it allows her to communicate mostly in written formats.

If you think you or your child might have hearing loss, ask your physician about a hearing test. Here is a link to more information:

If you have a speech or hearing disorder, here is information about how the FNHA's Health Benefits program can help you.

To support the speech and hearing needs of First Nations people in BC, the FNHA's Health Benefits program offers eligible clients coverage for a variety of products that support effective communication from a medical perspective.

Audiology benefits and speech systems fall under the Medical Supplies and Equipment (MS&E) benefit. The MS&E benefit covers a variety of items and services to support both short- and long-term speech and hearing medical needs.

The Health Benefits program includes comprehensive audiology coverage, which includes:

  • Hearing assessments
  • Hearing aids and molds
  • Hearing aid adjustments, returns and repairs
  • Hearing aid accessories and supplies
  • Bone-anchored hearing system processors
  • Cochlear-implant speech processors
  • Frequency Modulator (FM) systems

In addition to audiology benefits, the FNHA covers speech aid and prosthetic voice products to improve y​​​our ability to communicate and enhance overall health and wellness. Clients should work with their health care provider to determine what is appropriate for their communication needs and for support in submitting claims for these products.

The FNHA delivers the Health Benefits program in partnership with Pacific Blue Cross. Clients can also view their benefits and coverages through the Pacific Blue Cross app.​


For information about how you can protect your speech and hearing, please read our previous message here

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