Jennifer Ruths


Meinke, Deanna

Committee Member

Bright, Kathryn

Committee Member

Gilbert, Elizabeth


Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



140 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this study was to assess the state of hearing health in the immigrant and refugee community of northern Colorado, while also determining if the new wireless automated hearing test system (WAHTS) technology is a feasible means of bringing entry-level care to this multilingual population. Twenty adult participants were recruited from various cultural/lingual groups including: Rohingya, Karenni, Spanish, and Somali. Data were analyzed for 19 participants, 57.9% of who were female and 42.1% of who were male. Mean age of participants was 52.3 years (SD= 16.05). Audiometric thresholds were obtained at .5 to 8 kHz in both ears with the use of the WAHTS in classrooms and stairwells at a community center. Recorded ambient noise measurements in these locations were well within ANSI S3.1-1999 (R2013) standards when the attenuation of the WAHTS headset was considered. An interpreter was utilized to facilitate listener instruction, and a doctoral audiology student carried out all testing procedures. Participant interviews were conducted to determine self-reported hearing health history and subjective experience with the WAHTS. The point prevalence of hearing loss in this group was 52.6%. Overall, the use of the WAHTS was successful in this multilingual population, as most participants completed the task with simple translated instructions. The information gathered suggests a higher prevalence of hearing iv loss when compared to data for the general United States adult population and a rate of treatment acquisition that is about 20% lower than the general population. High rates of hearing loss in this population could have significant impacts for individuals trying to learn a new language. In a group that is in need of hearing healthcare, the WAHTS may be useful in low-resource settings in the future, with some slight software modifications to enhance usability.


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Copyright is held by the author.