We hope that everyone had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving! It is hard to believe that we are in the home stretch of 2019.
Once again, we would like to sincerely thank anyone who has donated to the campaign for new technology in our clinic. In this season of giving, it is fitting that tomorrow is #GivingTuesday. Giving Tuesday marks a day of global generosity unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world (https://www.givingtuesday.org/about). We encourage you to give to any organization that you feel passionate about! Whether it be our MinuteFund, an international charity, or a local foundation, any amount of giving ensures a positive impact on those around you.
In regards to our fund, we hope that Giving Tuesday may help us come closer to reaching our goal of $3,000—thus far we have raised $747. With your generosity, you will support our hard working graduate students in their clinical training, and the UMass Communication Disorders graduate programs as a whole.
Here are some more facts about communication disorders. Do you know anyone affected by any of the following disorders? Our program teaches students how to evaluate and treat these and all the other communication and swallowing disorders we have highlighted in our previous updates.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 15% of the general public—over 50 million Americans—experience some form of tinnitus. Roughly 20 million people struggle with chronic tinnitus, while two million have extreme and debilitating cases. (https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/what-is-tinnitus)
Ménière’s disease is a chronic vestibular (inner ear) disorder. The inner ear influences both hearing and balance. It is named for the French doctor Prosper Ménière (18 June 1799 – 7 February 1862), who, in 1861, first identified and described the symptoms of the medical condition that now bears his name. These symptoms include fluctuating hearing loss, episodic vertigo, a sensation of ear fullness, and tinnitus. Typically, only one ear is affected. (https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/what-is-menieres-disease)
Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurological disorder affecting the voice muscles in the larynx, or voice box. When we speak, air from the lungs is pushed between two elastic structures—called vocal folds or vocal cords—with sufficient pressure to cause them to vibrate, producing voice (see figure). In spasmodic dysphonia, the muscles inside the vocal folds experience sudden involuntary movements—called spasms—which interfere with the ability of the folds to vibrate and produce voice. (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/spasmodic-dysphonia)
People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing and may even experience pain while swallowing (odynophagia). Some people may be completely unable to swallow or may have trouble safely swallowing liquids, foods, or saliva. When that happens, eating becomes a challenge. Often, dysphagia makes it difficult to take in enough calories and fluids to nourish the body and can lead to additional serious medical problems. (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/dysphagia)
Thank you for your support and for reading our updates on this campaign! We hope that everyone is staying safe and warm on this snowy day in New England. Please keep sharing this campaign far and wide so that we can shine a light on the good work of our Department of Communication Disorders and provide even more support to our amazing grad students!