Spanish for the Audiologist: Is There an App for That? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people, 5 years of age and older speaking a language other than English at home has more than doubled within the last three decades. Spanish speakers are prominent in these numbers. Additionally, 41% report speaking English less than “very well.” We ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2015
Spanish for the Audiologist: Is There an App for That?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rosa Abreu
    Speech and Hearing Center, Newark Beth Israel MC/Children's Hospital of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
  • Terry Adriatico
    Audiology Division, Newark Public Schools, Newark, NY
  • Financial Disclosure: The authors have no financial interests related to the content of this article.
    Financial Disclosure: The authors have no financial interests related to the content of this article.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Article
Article   |   December 01, 2015
Spanish for the Audiologist: Is There an App for That?
SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations, December 2015, Vol. 22, 122-128. doi:10.1044/cds22.3.122
History: Received June 8, 2015 , Revised October 13, 2015 , Accepted October 13, 2015
SIG 14 Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations, December 2015, Vol. 22, 122-128. doi:10.1044/cds22.3.122
History: Received June 8, 2015; Revised October 13, 2015; Accepted October 13, 2015

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people, 5 years of age and older speaking a language other than English at home has more than doubled within the last three decades. Spanish speakers are prominent in these numbers. Additionally, 41% report speaking English less than “very well.” We can surmise from this data that a significant number of patients/families seeking hearing health services from audiologists may have limited English proficiency or a language barrier. In contrast, according to ASHA demographics, the majority of audiologists in the United States are monolingual and speak primarily English.

Audiology, a discipline with communication at its heart, is in a distinctive position to continue to provide high-quality, accessible, culturally sensitive services, regardless of language barriers. Ten audiologists in northern NJ volunteered to try a real time translation mobile app (Google Translate App) and document their experiences with the use of this tool with their Spanish-speaking patients/families. Results suggest that a mobile translation app may be a viable option to address language barriers in the audiology practice when professional and/or ad-hoc interpreters are not available. Technology driven solutions can then be applied to customize the translation apps to the specific needs of the audiology practice (e.g., vernacular used in adult vs. pediatric populations, or vestibular vs. rehabilitation terminology). Healthcare literacy is also addressed in the content of patient education and cultural competence.

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