Audiology Testing & the MP3

Compact discs containing WAV files have been considered a superior way for audiologists to test patients for many years. That is because WAV files are high quality, but this file type has a drawback. Although it can be saved to computers, it tends to be too bulky to conveniently import to certain devices. That is why the general public quickly latched onto the MP3 file type. However, it has a drawback too. In order to make the file size smaller, the audio is actually compressed. Some in the audio industry believe the compression on MP3 file types compromises quality. That presents a big question for the audiology community: Would the quality of MP3 files produce different test results?

Recent research by Jennifer M. Brace and Robert W. Keith gives audiologists more confidence to use MP3 audio file types for testing. The study was based on twenty normal listeners using Auditec’s NU-6 Ordered by Difficulty Version II and found no significant difference between testing using a compact disc (WAV files) or MP3 files. This finding allows audiologists more freedom to test on their preferred devices.

Does this mean you should ditch your CD player or computer and trade it for an MP3 player? Maybe or maybe not. Since CDs are high quality and easy to use, it may be worthwhile for some audiologists to continue to use them. Other audiologists may need to travel and find smaller devices work best. Auditec permits customers to make one backup of purchased recordings for their own personal use. Customers now have a choice to make their backup as a WAV file or MP3.

Help the Audiology Community

Auditec’s test recordings vary from fully developed tests with a manual that includes age-specific normative data to simple test recordings without any normative data. Some audiologists have developed their own normative data for those test recordings. If that’s you, please consider sharing that information with us so that we can pass it onto other audiologists. Audiologists have voiced a real need for data on the following Auditec recordings:

  • French Word Lists opposite Noise
  • Modified Rhyme Test
  • NU-6 opposite Noise
  • NU-6 Time Compressed
  • NUCHIPS opposite Noise
  • PBK opposite Noise
  • Spanish Word Lists opposite Noise
  • Spanish Sentences opposite Noise
  • SPRINT
  • W-22 opposite Noise
  • W-22 Time Compressed
  • WIPI Low Pass Filtered
  • WIPI Time Compressed

Auditec is only interested in normative data that has been personally gathered by you or your organization. Please include the following information (if possible):

  • number of normal subjects (No test size is too small.)
  • ages of normal subjects
  • regional background
  • other applicable information
  • your name or your organization’s name (so we can credit you)

We hope to gather this information from multiple sources to give audiologists a guideline to use for normative data. Please email this information to auditecinfo@auditec.com. By working together, audiologists can improve diagnosis, treatment, and management for their patients. Thank you for your dedication to this field.

 

New Auditory Products for 2017

Auditec added the following products to our 2017 catalog:

  • NUCHIPS Picture Books A & B (Back in print!)             
  • Dichotic Word Listening Test & Competing Sentences, Short Interval
  • Randomizations of French word lists
  • Randomizations of Spanish word lists
  • Spanish Sentences in Noise

Click Auditec’s PRICE LIST to learn more about these products. We work with test developers to accommodate your auditory needs. Email auditecinfo@auditec.com with suggested products or variations of current products.

Newly Added Variations

Auditec introduces 20 NEW audiology test recording variations to our 2016 catalog. Old favorites and foreign language lists are now available with noise as competition. Read the list and click the hyperlinks for more details. (All prices in US dollars plus S&H.)

Description                                                                      Item                 Price

CIAT Dichotic Sentences                                                       251                    $80.00

CUNY Sentences w/Cafeteria Noise at +8 dB              239             $150.00

French Lists opposite Multi-talker Noise                  234             $110.00

LNT/MLNT opposite Four Talker Noise                        240            $183.50

NU-6 Time Compressed with & without Reverberation  250      $140.00

NU-CHIPS opposite Children’s Noise                                261              $120.00

NU-CHIPS opposite Four Talker Noise                               237             $120.00

NU-CHIPS opposite Multi-talker Noise                             238             $120.00

PBK-50 opposite Children’s Classroom Noise                 228                 $82.25

PBK-50 opposite Four Talker Noise                                       229               $82.25

Spanish Monosyllables opposite Multi-talker               230              $110.00

Spanish Lists opposite Spanish Four Talker Noise      231                $110.00

Spanish Lists opposite Multi-talker Noise                     232                $110.00

WIPI1st ed. Female opposite Four Talker Noise, no pictures 263   $110.00

WIPI1st ed. Female opposite Multi-talker Noise, no pictures 264 $110.00

WIPI 2nd ed. opposite Four Talker Noise, no pictures  236      $137.00

WIPI 2nd ed. opposite Multi-talker Noise, no picture   235      $137.00

W-22 opposite Children’s Noise                                      233               $82.25

W-22 Ordered by Difficulty, Short Interval                    265              $70.25

W-22 Ordered by Difficulty opposite Multi-talker Noise  266     $90.00

White Noise                                                                            227              $46.00

Thank you for being an Auditec customer. We look forward to serving you in 2016.

                             Happy New Year!

Nonverbal Testing

Researchers recommend hearing professionals use both verbal and nonverbal testing to evaluate patients. Nonverbal testing is especially useful when testing patients: 1) who do not use English as a first language, 2) who have language limitations due to hearing impairment, or 3) who use cochlear implants. Auditec offers a variety of nonverbal tests to suit the unique needs of hearing professionals around the world.

The Sound Effects Recognition Test (SERT) is a picture pointing test that uses sounds like a barking dog, whistling, or a vacuum. It includes instructions and normative data for ages 3-6 as well as the audio CD and the corresponding picture book.

Hearing professionals who are testing adults may find Environmental Sounds (also known as Forty Familiar Sounds) a beneficial test to add to their battery. This recording includes sounds like: bowling, roller coaster, and a babbling brook.  A similar recording called Filtered Environmental Sounds includes those sounds at specified frequencies. These recordings can be employed as the hearing professional sees fit. No normative data or instructions are included; however, a sounds list is included.

Nonverbal tests play a key role in auditory processing.  Auditec offers the Random Gap Detection Test, Gaps In Noise, Pitch Pattern Sequence, Duration Pattern Sequence, and Masking Level Difference-Tone Version to audiologists all over the world. Instructions and score forms (in English) are included with the audio CD purchase.

Minimizing the language barrier in auditory testing opens up a whole new world for hearing professionals to understand the limitations of hearing and processing of their patients.  Nonverbal tests can be valuable tools to help hearing professionals identify hearing problems and diagnose disorders. Whether testing children or adults for either auditory discrimination or auditory processing, Auditec offers nonverbal tests for professionals with even difficult-to-test patients.

 

Attention Deficits: Is it ADD/ADHD or APD?

Children with attention deficits can be hard to diagnose. Is it attention deficit disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD) or is it an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)? Or both? Auditec offers tools to help professionals correctly diagnose children so that appropriate steps can be taken to manage the attention deficit.

Many professionals still rely on solely on subjective information such as observations by parents and teachers to diagnose ADD/ADHD. However, there is an objective, quantifiable test to help diagnose (or rule out) ADD/ADHD as a cause of the child’s attention deficit. It is called the Auditory Continuous Performance Test (ACPT). This test is a recorded word list given in quiet (no background noise). The child listens and responds to a target word. It is a pass or fail test with normative data on ages 6-11.

The Selective Auditory Attention Test (SAAT) is an auditory figure ground test to help diagnose auditory processing disorders in children aged 4-9. It was developed to aid in the early identification of young children who have poor ability to attend (attention deficit), especially in noise. This test uses the recorded Word Intelligibility by Picture Identification word list: two lists in quiet and two lists in noise. (The competing message is an interesting story.)

Auditec provides established and reliable tests like the Auditory Continuous Performance Test and Selective Auditory Attention Test. With these tools, skilled professionals can confidently diagnose children with the correct disorder(s). Then recommendations can be customized according to the diagnosis to help the patient succeed in life. “Problem kids” become superheroes, and their skilled professionals do too!

Cochlear Implant Testing

Auditec customers often tell us they need tools to test cochlear implant users. We sell three recordings specifically designed for cochlear implant users as well as many other tests that could be used with cochlear implant patients. The three tools are 1) Lexical Neighborhood Test/Multi-syllabic Lexical Neighborhood Test (LNT/MLNT), 2) BKB-SIN, and 3) Minimal Auditory Capabilities (MAC). All three of these include recordings and instructions so that customers can test cochlear implant patients with confidence.

Since children with cochlear implants generally perform poorly on the PBK word list, it is not a recommended recording for cochlear implant patients.  Instead, we recommend the Lexical Neighborhood Test/ Multi-syllabic Lexical Neighborhood Test (LNT/MLNT). It was specifically created to assess open-set speech performance in cochlear implant children.

Since cochlear implant users report speech recognition is more difficult in noise, audiologists need a tool to test cochlear implant patients with noise. The BKB-SIN (Speech In Noise) uses sentences in four-talker noise at varying signal-to-noise ratios. This test has also been used to determine cochlear implant candidacy.

If traditional speech materials are too difficult to evaluate hearing ability in an adult cochlear implant patient, we recommend the Minimal Auditory Capabilities (MAC) Battery. It includes gross sound identification, inflection detection, contrast detection, accent discrimination, and word identification with subtests such as question/statement, vowel recognition, spondee recognition, noise/voice, accent, SPIN High-context sentence,  familiar sound recognition, monosyllabic word discrimination, and more.

The LNT/MLNT, BKB-SIN, and MAC Battery are three different tools audiologist can use for cochlear implant patients. However, there are other recording selections in Auditec’s catalog that may be suitable depending for your your needs such as noise recordings, environmental sounds, or auditory training. Auditec gladly provides professionals with the tools they need to help their unique set of patients succeed in life.

Auditory Processing Disorder Testing

It is recommended that audiologists use established, reliable tests with both verbal and non-verbal stimuli that assess different auditory processes. Auditory Processing Disorder Tests are often broken down into four categories. The categories are 1) DICHOTIC LISTENING for binaural integration and separation, 2) TEMPORAL PROCESSING for auditory pattern temporal ordering-APTO and temporal resolution), 3) MONAURAL LOW-REDUNDANCY (monaural separation closure-MSC), and 4) BINAURAL INTERACTION. Auditec sells tests for each of these categories.

DICHOTIC LISTENINGPediatric Speech Intelligibility (ages 3-6); Competing Sentences (ages 5 and up); Dichotic Consonant-Vowel (ages 5 and up); Dichotic Digits (ages 7 and up); Synthetic Sentence Identification-Contralateral Competing Message (ages 11 and up), ; Dichotic Sentence Identification (ages 11 and over)

TEMPORAL TESTS: Random Gap Detection Test (non-verbal stimuli for ages 5 and up); Gaps In Noise (non-verbal stimuli for ages 7 and up); Pitch Pattern-Child Version (non-verbal stimuli for ages 6-9); Pitch Pattern Adult (non-verbal stimuli for ages 9-65); Duration Pattern Sequence (non-verbal stimuli for ages 11 and up)

MONAURAL LOW-REDUNDANCY: Pediatric Speech Intelligibility (ages 3-6); Selective Auditory Attention Test (ages 4-9); Time Compressed Sentence Test (ages 6 and up); Time Compressed Word Lists (ages 11 and up); Low Pass Filtered Tests (ages 11 and up); Synthetic Sentence Identification – Ipsilateral Competing Message (ages 11 and up)

BINAURAL INTERACTION: Spondee Binaural Fusion (appropriate for children and adults); Rapid Alternating Speech (appropriate for children and adults); Masking Level Difference (appropriate for children and adults)

cUSTOMAuditec allows audiologists to design their own custom auditory processing disorder battery with any of the above tests. You can determine which tests will be used to examine based on your patient’s needs and age range. Once you have compiled a list of your test selections, email it along with your state/country to auditec.kb@gmail.com for an exact quote with ordering instructions.

acap

If you want to purchase a general battery that assesses all of the areas, consider the ACAP Battery. The ACAP Battery (CD115-9) includes Dichotic Digits, Duration Pattern Sequence, Dichotic Word Listening Test, Masking Level Difference-Tone, NU-6 Low Pass Filtered at 750 Hz, Time Compressed Sentence Test, Random Gap Detection Test, Selective Auditory Attention Test, and Competing Sentences.

NCAP

Audiologists who regularly test non-English speaking patients often choose the NCAP Battery since all of the tests use non-verbal stimuli. The NCAP Battery (CD117-9) includes the Duration Pattern Sequence, Pitch Pattern Sequence – Adult & Child Versions, Random Gap Detection Test-Standard & Expanded Versions, and Masking Level Difference-Tone Version.

SAPD plusAudiologists with Spanish speaking patients often choose the Santiago APD Plus Battery. The Santiago APD Plus (CD120-9) includes Spanish Dichotic Digits, Spanish Filtered Speech, Spanish Binaural Fusion, Spanish Speech In Noise, Spanish Time Compressed Sentence Test, Spanish Staggered Spondaic Word, Spanish Dichotic Word Listening Test.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you determine which auditory processing tests are right for you for your patients. If you want to learn more about auditory processing disorder assessment, Auditec recommends a book by Teri James called Assessment & Management of Central Auditory Processing Disorders (available on Amazon). You may also find these links helpful:

Therapy in Action

The power to help your patients is within reach. If your patient has a specific ear deficit on dichotic listening tasks, consider the Constraint-Induced Auditory Training Program (CIAT). It is appropriate therapy for children with dyslexia, persons with hypersensitivity to noise, adults with aphasia, or anyone who would like to improve their listening ability. The most common question we get about this training program is: what would this therapy look like inside my organization?

One of the greatest advantages to CIAT therapy is the enormous selection of materials. Twelve compact discs of recorded material is included in the standard version. Another benefit of the CIAT is the included manual on CD-Rom. It provides a wealth of information like an overview, background, case studies, exercises and worksheets. The only equipment you need is a CD player and stereo headphones. You might begin by asking your patient (or patient’s parents) to commit to two 30-minute sessions for six weeks. You can be flexible and slow down the program or accelerate the program to suit the patient’s needs.

Therapy begins with over two CDs with exercises like dichotic digits, dichotic consonant-vowels, dichotic letters, and dichotic sentences. The patient will listen and respond as the therapist scores. After the exercises are complete, the patient moves onto short stories in noise and then a much longer story in noise. The stories are a listening task with no set exercise or scoring, but the therapist may ask occasional questions about what is happening in the story to make sure the listener is engaged.  Auditec now  includes a complimentary backup of the longer story (discs 5-12) with every purchase of the CIAT – Standard and Longer Story versions. This backup allows professionals to loan this portion of the CIAT to their patients for self-administration at home.

Auditec has received positive feedback about the use of this program. Their patients are experiencing improvement thanks to their caring audiologists. Will your patients be next? Email auditec.kb@gmail.com with your state/country to receive an exact quote with ordering instructions for the Constraint-Induced Auditory Therapy (CIAT) Standard.

ciat

Speech Discrimination for Children

For speech discrimination testing in adults, audiologists often choose either the W-22 or NU-6. If they want to shorten the testing time, they will use a list that is ordered by difficulty or a short interval recording. However, the choice between word recognition tests becomes more complicated when it comes to children because there are several to choose from. I am often asked: Which test is best? There is not one clear answer because the best test depends on the age range of your patients.

If your patients’ age range is 12 and older, you can confidently administer the adult word lists such as the W-22 Form A or NU-6 Form A. Depending on the vocabulary of the child, you may choose to administer these lists to kids a little younger than 12. The administrator must start the recording, then the patient simply repeats the word he or she hears it on the recording.

The PBK-50 Form A word list was designed for lower grade school age children. The PBK is similar to the W-22 or NU-6 word list except the vocabulary is more appropriate for this younger age group. Again, the patient simply repeats the word as he or she hears on the recording.

WIPI 2

The Word Intelligibility by Picture Identification (WIPI) fits a lower age range of 5 to 8 year olds. This test makes use of a picture book (sample at left). The child listens to the recording, then points to the pictured representation of the word as he or she hears it. There are six choices on each page. Aside from being easier for younger children, it is also beneficial for the test administrator to see the selection by using picture-pointing since the child may be difficult to understand.

image005The Northwestern University-Children’s Perception of Speech (NU-CHIPS) test reaches an even younger age range. Ages 2-5 can also be tested by administering this picture-pointing test. As you can see from the pictures at right, there are less choices for the younger child to select from as they listen to the recording.

The test an audiologist administers to a child should be appropriate for his or her age group (or language age). If the test is too easy or too hard, the test results may not show his or her true ability to discriminate speech. Therefore, it may be necessary to purchase one or more tests for your patients depending on the patient age range. You have been entrusted to evaluate the hearing of these amazing kids so it is up to you to utilize the best and most appropriate tests available.

Audiology Equipment Advice

Occasionally, Auditec receives questions about purchasing audiology equipment. Does Auditec sell equipment? What CD player should I buy? Will your CDs work with my audiometer? What equipment do you recommend? fb VU Meter Info web page Auditec does not sell any equipment and does not endorse any brand. This affords us the opportunity to offer some unbiased advice on buying equipment.

To start, consider how your equipment can satisfy your specific needs. Ask yourself some questions to evaluate your needs. How much physical space do I have for my equipment? What is my budget? Will I need portable equipment? What is the age range of my patients?

Auditec compact discs play in all CD players and everywhere else you can play standard audio CDs (like computers). CD players sound pretty much the same no matter how expensive they are so you can save a few dollars by purchasing a relatively inexpensive CD player. Since CDs can degrade when you leave them in the player, we do not recommend buying a multi-disc changer. If you may need to test in other locations, you may consider purchasing a portable CD player. (This article was edited on March 23, 2017 to include recent research by Jennifer M. Brace and Robert W. Keith.) Recent research has concluded normal listeners tested using the mp3 audio files of speech discrimination tests produce the same valid results as when tested using the wav audio files on compact discs.

There are a variety of audiometers on the market. Regardless of what brand you choose, make sure you purchase a two-channel audiometer. Even some of the most basic Auditec recordings (like the Basic Auditory Test CD) have different information recorded to the left and right channels. For instance, a word list may be recorded to the left channel while noise is recorded to the right. If you want to use the word list in quiet, you could use your left channel only. If you want to mix it with noise, you would use your left and right channels. Be sure your equipment is set up properly from the very start. If possible, spend some time getting to know your audiometer dealer and hold onto his or her contact information in case you have questions in the future.

Some of the best audiologists are not skilled in technology use. If that’s you, make sure the audiometer you select is easy to operate. Some audiometers come with speech already loaded on them. Unfortunately, we have heard some horror stories about the quality and clarity of these pre-loaded recordings. Make certain that your audiometer does not limit your test selection so that you can improve, expand, and update your test library in the future.

If you plan to accept pediatric patients, it may be useful to have a computer in the testing room. Some tests for young children (like NU-CHIPs) include pictures as pdf files so patients can view the pictures on their computers. Some Auditec customers have reported that the use of a computer engages children better than the use of a book. However, convenience or a lack of space may cause you to prefer simply purchase a classic NU-CHIPs picture book or use the picture CD-Rom to print the pictures and put them in a three-ring binder.

Ultimately, the evaluation of your specific needs and preferences should shape your decisions about the best audiology equipment for you. Whether you are just starting out or considering a change, Auditec wishes you the very best luck as you shop for audiology equipment that is appropriate and easy to use.

Are MP3s Appropriate for Auditory Testing?

Auditec, Inc. is proud to be a small business with a long history. We have been serving professionals with auditory test materials in a variety of formats since 1972.
download (1)

Long before the Sony Walkman was invented, Auditec sold its auditory test recordings on reels.

download

Next, Auditec sold auditory test materials on cassette tapes. Believe it or not, we still get requests for this discontinued format. At one point in time, Auditec even made its recordings available on digital audio tapes (DATs).

cUSTOM

Now, Auditec provides quality audio recordings on compact discs. Customers can combine multiple recordings to one disc and play it using their CD player or computer.

MP3s are a convenient next step for professionals who want to use portable equipment that does not take up a lot of space like iPods, iPads, and MP3 players. (This article was edited on March 23, 2017 to include recent research by Jennifer M. Brace and Robert W. Keith.) Recent research has concluded normal listeners tested using the mp3 audio files of speech discrimination tests produce the same valid results as when tested using the wav audio files on compact discs.

Where Can I Find……

Auditec offers a wide selection of products including word recognition tests (in English, Spanish, and French), auditory processing tests, and auditory training programs. We sell 80 tests in over 200 variations. Some of our most popular recordings are the NU-6 Ordered by Difficulty Version II, Spanish Auditory Test CD, NCAP CD, and Constraint Induced Auditory Therapy (CIAT).

However, there are a few items that are frequently requested by our customers that Auditec does not offer. Here is a list of the popularly requested recordings that Auditec does not sell:

  • SRT or word discrimination in languages such as Russian, Italian, Arabic, etc.
  • Spanish picture-pointing test for children
  • Hearing In Noise Test – Children (also known as the HINT-C)
  • Tests using a series of digits (as in telephone numbers)

Unfortunately, no one here at Auditec knows where you can purchase the products on the bullet list above. If you know where to find those products or own the rights to a test like the one listed above, let us know by emailing auditec.kb@gmail.com.

Auditec is always in search of additional tests for our catalog. If you have a test that is recorded, researched, and ready to sell, email auditec.kb@gmail.com for more information on how to get your test into the hands of other audiologists by designating Auditec, Inc. as your primary test manufacturer and distributor.

THE USE OF HALF-LIST WORD RECOGNITION TESTS

Written by William F. Carver, Ph.D., FAAA, FASHA, CCC(A)ret.

The problem of the amount of time required to thoroughly assess a client’s hearing capabilities is one which has plagued audiologists for many, many years. In an attempt to shorten the duration of a testing session, many audiologists utilize so-called “half lists.” This has been accomplished by either simply stopping the test after 25 words (from a 50 word list) or employing half lists that have been published.

As the reader may well know, both the W-22 and NU-6 have half list versions. Some of these lists have been ordered by difficulty, such that one can reduce the number of words to 10 in certain cases. While many deplore the use of half lists, their use has been ubiquitous. There are those who argue that 50 words are necessary to obtain reliable and valid results. That decision is up to the reader, but I recommend the Hurley version (see below).

Campbell’s half lists employ words from the W-22 lists. There are eight lists labeled M thru T. They are NOT ordered by difficulty. Beyond the initial research which produced these lists, I have not seen any further research on the lists. Consequently, I have no idea of their reliability or validity.

Auditec has two versions of NU-6 half lists, both of which purport to be ordered by difficulty. The first one, by Rose, is not recommended. (It was developed using Tillman’s NU-6 recording.) We have a more modern version by Hurley which has been rigorously researched using Auditec’s recording.* Both NU-6 versions use an interesting method for cutting test time significantly for patients with excellent word recognition ability.  That is; the first 10 words in each list are the MOST difficult words in the list, so, if a patient misses any of these most difficult words, then the next 15 (total 25) words are presented. The Rose version stops there, while the recommendation for the Hurley version is that if more than three words are missed out of the 25, that the entire 50 word list be given. The Rose version will not allow that, since there are only 25 words in each of his (7) lists.

In addition, the Hurley version is available with a short interstimulus interval, which significantly reduces test time. (See our previous blog Short Interstimulus Interval.)

It must be obvious why we recommend the Hurley version for all word recognition testing. However, if one does not feel comfortable using half lists, then the entire 50 word list is there. On the other hand, if one is pressed for time, it is believed that the Hurley approach will produce reliable and valid information about a patient’s word recognition ability.

I should mention another test, the California Consonant Test (CCT). (It is not phonetically balanced, it employs 100 words per list (of two) which are heavily loaded with high pitched words.) It is a closed set test. The developers, Owens & Schubert, found that list 1 could be given as a half list. That is, they found that scores on each half were highly correlated and their results were reliable. This is not the case with list 2, however.

Hurley, R.M. & Sells, J.P. “An Abbreviated Word Recognition Protocol Based on Item Difficulty” Ear & Hearing, 24, 2003 (111-118)

Click here to go to Auditec’s website homepage.

Short Interval Recordings

Written by William F. Carver, Ph.D., FAAA, FASHA, CCC(A)ret.

A little more about live voice vs. recorded testing. One of the major reasons that I hear from those who defend the practice of using live voice is that recorded tests take too long.  Typically, we use four seconds as the interstimulus interval.  This period of silence between stimuli appears to be sufficient for most people to hear the word, decide what it is and repeat it.  I have and I’m sure that most audiologists have, experienced extremely slow responders where even four seconds is inadequate. On the other hand, we experience the quick responders for whom a couple of seconds is sufficient.  Auditec has, therefore, produced recordings with shortened interstimulus intervals of 2.5 seconds.  I know of many audiologists who have taken advantage of these recordings quite successfully.  (For the occasional slow responder, one can employ the pause button on their playback device.)

Short interval recordings are available from Auditec, Inc. The most popular version is the NU-6 Ordered by Difficulty Version II.

WORD RECOGNITION TESTING, LIVE VOICE VS. RECORDED

Written by William F. Carver, Ph.D., FAAA, FASHA, CCC(A)ret.

You receive a referral from an audiologist.  An audiogram which includes a word recognition score is sent with the patient.  What can you tell from the word recognition score?  Nothing!   What list was used; W-22, NU-6, or PBK lists?  Did the audiologist use live voice, or was it from a recording?  Was it from a commercially available recording?  What is the articulation function (performance/intensity function) of the recording or of the audiologist’s voice? These variables can have a profound effect on  a word recognition score.

Presentations of cases (Grand Rounds) at conventions and meetings usually include an audiogram, SRT and word recognition scores…again what can you tell from the word recognition score?  If the presentation does not include information relative to how it was obtained with what materials, you have no real idea of the patient’s ability to discriminate speech.

To convey the crucial information about a person’s ability to communicate verbally, one must specify, not only the word recognition score, but must list: the list (i.e. W-22 or NU-6), the sensation level at which the test was administered, whether live voice or recorded.  If live voice, what is “normal?”  If from a recording, who’s recording (i.e. Auditec, dubbed from Technisonics, LAFO, QMass, etc.) ?

What variables control a word recognition score?  1.  The talker (the primary source of variation), 2. The presentation level, and 3. The list employed.

Word recognition (nee speech discrimination) is a slippery aspect of auditory tests.  Attempts have been made to standardize word recognition testing, but results have been disappointing.  Ideally, recorded tests that have been used throughout the area should be used.  And, ideally, one should not rely on a single score.  It has been shown that some sensory-neural patients will exhibit an articulation function that rises slowly and then curls over at higher levels.  Thus if one measures word recognition at a comparatively low level, it may be missed that a patient’s word recognition gets worse at higher levels.  A significant finding.

The point is, one should take the time to used recorded materials when testing for word recognition and ideally, especially in sensori-neural cases, obtain at least two measures at medium and high levels.

Adult word recognition lists like the NU-6 and W-22 and child word recognition lists like the PBK are available from Auditec, Inc.

Speech Threshold / SRT Category

The following items include speech reception threshold (SRT) tests. Click on the test name to learn more about the product.

This is not an exhaustive list. Many other tests appear in Auditec’s catalog. Go to Auditec’s alphabetical price list to search for a specific test or email auditecinfo@auditec.com for further assistance.

Cochlear Category

The following items are for cochlear implant patients. Click on the test name to learn more about the product.

This is not an exhaustive list. Other items for cochlear implant patients appear in Auditec’s catalog. Go to Auditec’s alphabetical price list to search for a specific test or email auditecinfo@auditec.com for further assistance.

Therapy/Training Category

Audiologists use the following materials for therapy or training. Click on the item name to learn more about the product.

This is not an exhaustive list. Many other materials appear in Auditec’s catalog. Go to Auditec’s alphabetical price list to see a full product listing or email auditecinfo@auditec.com for further assistance.