Experiences of Families from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds along the Hearing Screening and Diagnostic Pathway
Significant disadvantages for families from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds have been identified when accessing and engaging in health and disability services. However, few studies have investigated the challenges for families from CALD backgrounds in accessing services along the newborn hearing screening and diagnostic pathway. This study explored the experiences of families from CALD backgrounds in their engagement with the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) and Victorian diagnostic audiology services, with data drawn from both families and their service providers. Semi-structured interviews were used to (a) explore factors experienced by families from CALD backgrounds that enabled or impeded their engagement in hearing screening and diagnostic audiology services, and (b) explore service providers’ experiences of supporting families from CALD backgrounds. Thirteen parents and twelve service providers were interviewed, and data was analysed using inductive content analysis. Participants identified numerous strengths and areas for improvement in the services they received. Strengths included the use of interpreters, having family support, and seeking additional resources from the Internet enabled engagement in services. Lack of interpreters, parental emotions and anxiety, lack of family support and logistics (e.g., transportation) were all barriers that families encountered in accessing services. Service providers identified several issues that resulted in differences in service delivery, communication, and support needs for families from CALD backgrounds, compared with families from English-speaking backgrounds. Perceived barriers included vi communication difficulties, cultural factors and external influences, logistical and financial concerns, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings from this study informs the provision of support services throughout the infant hearing screening and diagnostic pathway for families from CALD backgrounds.