What is a Speech Recognition Test?
There are several hearing tests out there to help measure your ability to hear and recognize sound. They range from whispered speech tests to auditory brainstem tests and speech recognition testing. If you think you suffer from hearing loss, it’s likely that your hearing specialist will conduct one or more of these tests to help identify the degree of hearing loss you are suffering from.
One of these tests is the speech recognition test. It’s nothing to be afraid of and is actually very simple.
What does a speech recognition test determine?
The speech recognition test determines your ability to both hear and understand normal conversations. They measure the softest sound that your ear can pick up and how clearly you comprehend spoken words. Normally, the speech recognition test will let the specialist know the quietest speech that you can discern at least half of the time.
How does it work?
Before your test, the audiologist will probably ask a few questions in order to evaluate your hearing history. These questions may include the following:
- How long have you had difficulties hearing?
- Is there a history of hearing loss in your family?
- Are you aware of what caused your hearing loss?
- Do your ears ring?
- Do you normally get ear infections?
- Do you have any ear pain?
- In what situations is it more difficult to understand and follow conversations?
- Are you currently taking any medications?
Next, they will physically inspect your ear with an otoscope, which is similar to a flashlight combined with a magnifying glass. They’ll be checking for obstructions or any problems inside of your ear. Finally, they will perform a series of tests, one of which will be the speech recognition test.
Speech recognition test:
The speech recognition test may be performed in either silent or noisy environments, depending on the specialist and their analysis of your hearing needs. Normally, one ear is tested at a time – not both at once.
The test itself is very simple. The specialist will probably give you headphones and present a series of words to you, each time varying the loudness or intensity of the speech. They will ask you to repeat back the words. Generally, a list of pre-selected words are used for the test. Once you are hearing correctly only 50 percent of the time, the test will end and results will be determined.
In this way, they will be able to determine at what threshold of sound you can no longer understand speech very well. Though simple, the test can be frustrating for some if they experience a more severe hearing loss, as they will not be able to hear or repeat most of the words.
What do your results mean?
Once you are able to hear and repeat the words correctly 50 percent of the time, the specialist will take note of the dB HL (decibels hearing level) at which they presented the words to you.
This information will be very useful in determining what level of hearing loss you experience and what type of hearing aid will be the most beneficial for you.
Talk to an audiologist in your area to have your hearing health assessed. You’re just a few simple tests away from finding out how your hearing and overall health can be improved!