American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Audiologic Services

It is important to consider the client's native language when conducting an audiological evaluation. Provide oral and written information in the client's native language. Review  tips for working with an interpreter for oral language or sign language interpretation.

Case History

The case history is an essential component to an evaluation. Ask specific questions including: 

  • What language is used at home, work and/or school?
  • What language does the family use?
  • Who is responsible for the healthcare and overall wellness of the client?
  • What forms of medicine or healthcare service delivery are used?

Evaluations

Evaluations must be culturally sensitive. Be certain to-

  • Present all directions in the client's native language.
  • Conduct Speech Reception Threshold examinations in either the client's native language or through non-verbal measures, nonsense words, or digits tests.
  • If there are no materials available in the client's native language, ask a bilingual family member to write down 10-20 common words. Have him or her present the words using the monitored live voice technique after explaining the procedure. Be sure that he or she does not increase the intensity of his/her words.  Keep the list of words so that it will be available for the next visit.
  • All written documents should be translated in the client's native language.
  • Use culturally and linguistically appropriate test materials.

Counseling

Be aware of how a person's culture may affect his or her attitude toward a hearing loss, hearing aid, perception of severity of hearing loss, perception of life, and beliefs about the etiology of the hearing loss.  Some cultures, including the Deaf Culture, do not believe that hearing loss and Deafness are disabilities. Consider the impact that culture may have on the selected course of treatment. 

Aural Rehabilitation

It is important that oral or sign language interpreters are used during aural rehabilitation.  Consider the impact of the client's culture on speech reading tasks. For example, certain cultures view the establishment and maintenance of eye contact as a form of aggression. Be certain to consider how your client's culture may vary from your culture as you discuss treatment options and anticipated treatment outcomes.

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