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Case Study 2: Accent Reduction Therapy for a Doctor

This case study gives information on how Voice Science provided detailed support to a doctor wanting to enhance their communication and improve intelligibility.  

Communication with patients

Scenario

The Problem

A 35 year old male general practitioner was experiencing ongoing problems with his communication and intelligibility when interacting with patients. The general practitioner stated that he “feels very anxious giving medical information to my patients and their families because my speech is not clear.” He also reported that he was “tired of not being understood clearly” and outlined concerns regarding his ability to achieve career progression due to communication barriers. 

The doctor contacted Voice Science and scheduled an Initial Diagnostic Assessment of Accent for Medical Professionals.

Diagnostic Assessment of Accent

Diagnostric Accent Assessment Melbourne

The clinician took a case history to obtain further insight into:

  • the nature of the general practitioner’s communication problems
  • environmental, behavioural and psychosocial factors impacting on communication
  • an inventory of frequently used words, concepts and communication tasks undertaken by the general practitioner

Sound recordings of the doctor’s were also taken for subsequent acoustic analysis to determine a suggested treatment plan. 

The clinician provided the doctor with information on ratings of accent strength according to mild, moderate and pronounced accent features as well as insight into prognostic indicators. 

A diagnostic report was then written and provided to the client within 5 business days .

Barriers to Clear Communication

The clinician noted several barriers to clear communication for the general practitioner. 

These included:

Barriers to communication for Doctor Accent Reduction Program

Accent Reduction Therapy for Doctors 

Accent reduction therapy was provided across a course of 15 sessions according to the diagnosis of a pronounced accent from a Standard English target using the Voice Science Assessment Protocol.

Each session was tailored to ensure pragmatic and functional communication success. Emphasis was placed upon incorporating high frequency medical vocabulary and expressions to enhance the transfer of clinical goals to daily communication activities. 

The accent reduction therapy program encompassed the following aspects to address the general practitioner’s needs:

Accent reduction therapy for doctors

A follow up post treatment assessment was completed after the 15 treatment sessions on the client’s request and revealed improved intelligibility, vowel and consonant accuracy and speech features that revealed heightened English prosody and intonation comparative to the initial diagnostic assessment. The general practitioner reported he had received “positive feedback about my communication from my colleagues… I also am seldom asked to repeat myself.” He confirmed that he experienced reduced anxiety when presenting at conferences and reported that “I can now manage my speech rate and and pronunciation effectively so that I no longer feel as anxious when I communicate in English.”  

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Accent reduction takes time and practice. It is not uncommon to still have an accent even after years of expatriate life. An accent can be an asset that sets you ahead. Listeners soon realise you are multi-lingual. Sometimes an accent can interfere with your message. Speech breakdowns can occur and it can be harder to express thoughts clearly to your listener. Don’t give up! Work on your pronunciation weaknesses strategically and practice daily to improve your English.Many non-native speakers opt to consult with a Speech Pathologist to reduce the impact of a foreign accent. 

Voice Science treats from Melbourne to Bangkok, New York, Sydney, Perth … wherever you are via our global service. 

 

Diagnostric Accent Assessment Melbourne

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See more accent reduction tips for non-native speakers here

Subscribe to the Voice Science YouTube Channel at this link for weekly accent and English language tips.

 

©Voice Science, 2014 – 2019

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