Increasing diversity in Canada can create challenges for practitioners providing services to children with hearing loss. Culturally competent services are required to ensure appropriate care for our multicultural population; however, there is a scarcity of evidence in audiology to inform practice guidelines. The perspectives of families of minority culture backgrounds on the services their children receive could provide invaluable information for practitioners seeking to provide appropriate care for all their patients. The objective of this study was to explore minority culture families’ perspectives on barriers and facilitators to culturally competent early hearing loss services. A qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews was employed. A total of 10 parents (representing nine different children) participated in this study. Three themes emerged from the interview data: experiences with hearing loss, services, and education systems; needs as a minority culture family; and helpful strategies for service provision to minority culture families. This study is one of the first to explore the experiences of minority culture families receiving early hearing loss services. Families who have children with permanent hearing loss often require long-term, ongoing, intervention services. For this reason, it is imperative for practitioners to provide culturally competent services informed by empirical evidence. Insights from this study offer a starting point for knowledge translation into clinical practice.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute