Type of Resources
Language barriers in the healthcare system have been a continuously growing dilemma in the United States, affecting communication between a provider and patient, which leads to problems in healthcare delivery. Policies and regulations currently in place have attempted to decrease language barriers but several healthcare providers are not aware of the responsibility, have not prioritized the issue, or have not been held accountable through the enforcement of the laws. The goal of this paper was to provide best practices for audiologic testing that minimize language and cultural barriers and maximize the benefit the patient receives from the hearing evaluation. The focus was on English-speaking audiologists and Spanish-speaking patients. The importance has been exacerbated as Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and Hispanic/Latino communities continue to grow with a limited amount of bilingual audiologists. Audiologic research in this population was extremely limited with little information on prevalence of hearing impairment, epidemiology, risk factors, genetic basis of hearing impairment, and hearing aid use. Yet, options are currently available such as resources, educational interventions focused on overcoming language barriers, cultural competency, translators, and machine translators that can help decrease the negative impacts of a language barrier in the audiology field. The goal was to create an audiologic protocol for English-speaking audiologists to use when seeing Spanish-speaking patients to reduce the negative impacts of language barriers in health care.