Hearing health matters—no matter what your language

Hearing Health & Technology Matters
September 26, 2012

By David H. Kirkwood

I always enjoy checking out the latest report from Google Analytics on traffic to our blog. It’s gratifying to see that our readership is continuing its rapid growth.  But I get an extra kick from seeing that our content is reaching people in every corner of the earth. In the past 30 days alone, we drew visitors from 120 different countries.

My long background in newspapers and magazines undoubtedly makes me especially appreciative of being able to reach people wherever there is Internet access. Back when I was putting out a print publication on hearing care, anyone outside the U.S. who wanted to subscribe had to pay more than $200 a year. That effectively put it out of reach for all but a few would-be readers.

And for those few who could afford a subscription, I’m afraid it may have caused more trouble than it was worth. I still remember how often at conventions, some frustrated Brazilian or Korean audiologist would come over to our booth and complain that she wasn’t getting the magazine or that it always came three months late. I’d apologize and pass along the complaints to the circulation department in hopes that the situation would be remedied.

But now that I’m an editor of an online publication, what a relief it is to no longer be at the mercy of the U.S. and foreign postal systems. We can—and do—reach people who care about hearing in Azerbaijan and Nicaragua, as easily as we do their counterparts in Arizona and North Carolina.

An international online publication comes with obligations as well as opportunities. For example, since we reach a global audience we need to avoid being too provincial. While much of our content undoubtedly is skewed toward our U.S. and Canadian readers, who represent more than two-thirds of our audience, we also make it a point to provide information and ideas that are of relevance to people beyond North America.



Until this week, we had not published anything in a language other than English. Fortunately for those of us whose only language is English, a large percentage of people from outside the Anglophone world are fluent in English or at least have a working knowledge of the language. Still, since our target audience is everyone who shares our belief that Hearing Health Matters, my colleagues and I believe that we ought to reach out to some of the hundreds of millions of people who don’t read English.

That’s why we’ve just launched a new blog, Have You Heard?, to provide translations of posts that originally appeared in English. This week, we’re featuring “Die Wahrheit über Mona,” a German translation of Gael Hannan’s June 4, 2012, post at the Better Hearing Consumer.

The translation was kindly provided by Birgit Meyer, who is a member of the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH). Birgit volunteered because she enjoys Gael’s blog so much that she wants to share it with her compatriots who aren’t at home in English.

If you know any German speakers who might be interested, let them know about the translation. Meanwhile, even if sie nicht Deutsch sprechen, please take a look at Have You Heard? And, si usted puede leer Español, you’ll enjoy, “La Pérdida De Audición: El Desventaja En Silencio,” an original post at Have You Heard by Holly Hosford-Dunn. Holly is overall editor of Hearinghealthmatters.org as well as being in charge of the Hearing Economics blog. When she isn’t blogging or treating patients in her private audiology practice, she finds time to study Spanish at the University of Arizona.



At least at the beginning, we’ll be able to publish only a limited number of our posts in translation. To help us increase the number of translations we offer, l’m asking for assistance from interested readers who are fluent in a language in addition to English. If you see a post that you would like to make accessible to people who read Spanish, French, German, Polish, or any other language that uses the Roman alphabet, please contact the editor of the blog where the post appeared. If you are interested in doing a foreign language version of a Hearing View or an item at Hearing News Watch, please get in touch with me at davidhoytkirkwood@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading our blog, wherever you are.

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  1. David,
    I can agree with that! Yes, it is amazing to see how posts and the message can spread throughout the word when, not so many years ago, it was in print media that the message was conveyed. I am very glad to see how lulti-language readers will now have the opportunity to see you psots in “Have you heard?”.
    Well done David!
    Rich Reikowski, Au.D

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