Speech Therapists Can Help Clients Mask Accents
There is a growing trend in the field of speech pathology that can launch into an entirely new career for many folks. Speech therapists are seeing a growing number of clients who are seeking out ways to mask their accents for professional purposes. Rather than having a medical emergency, these are individuals faced with issues of professionalism while having a regional or foreign accent.
Who Is Seeking Out Masking Help?
When we first think of masking an accent, we often allow our brains to flow to thick accents that struggle with the English language. Asian, Indian, and even some French accents can make speaking English difficult and leaves the individual frustrated while trying to communicate. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a level of bias towards folks who have these thick foreign accents, and people can get frustrated if they work with them. These individuals become painfully aware of the bias and often face difficulty in the business world as they try to improve their professional status. By seeking out a speech therapist, they are able to learn techniques to help mask the accent as much as possible so that the bias is minimized or removed.
It’s not limited to foreigners, however; many people with a regional accent suffer the same bias. Southern accents are one of the most recognizable accents that come with a heavy bias. Non-southerners hear the slow speech and the drawl and make assumptions that they are less than intelligent. It’s an unfair assumption, yet it’s very common. And how about those from the Northern East Coast or the upper Midwest? They too can have strong accents that are often made fun of, and assumptions are made about them based on speech.
Does it Help?
Yes, it really can help. Most cases last 12-13 weeks and can reduce the accent to the point of sounding Middle American, or what we hear when television newscasters speak. In some cases, folks learn how to switch their accents on and off so that they can use a professional voice and then slip back into their usual dialect for their personal lives. The good thing with that is that one doesn’t have to lose their identity in its entirety, just put it on hold during the work day. It’s important to note that clients will pay out of pocket. However, many employers are now offering to pay or reimburse the client, especially if the employee is an important contact within their company.
As our world becomes more united and companies become more global, we are going to see a rise in the need for managing accents for ease of communication. If you are in the field of speech pathology and looking for a change, this could be a great way to use your skills in a new and helpful way!