Speech testing is generally performed as the final step in a hearing test performed inside a sound booth. This test helps a hearing health professional understand the patient’s speech-hearing problems. This test, along with the pure-tone and bone-conduction tests, help the hearing health professional diagnose and set up a proper treatment plan for the patient. It is very important for a hearing health professional to understand what types of words a patient is having problems with in order to program a hearing aid correctly for the patient.
How is the test performed?
Speech testing is performed once the pure-tone and bone-conduction tests are completed; with or without masking. A speech test is delivered to the patient via headphones or earbuds. The patient will hear a series of words and they have to repeat them back to the hearing health professional the best they can. Volume may be adjusted throughout this test in order to determine the quietest that speech can be heard half of the time it is given to the patient. This test may be given in complete silence in order to determine their thresholds especially at the faintest level, but may also be given with background noise in order to determine the amount of volume that needed in order for the patient to hear the words clearly.
Both tests are important in order to determine proper programming of a hearing aid in both quiet and loud environments. Speech testing is very similar to pure-tone and bone-conduction testing; however, this time the patient is repeating words back to the hearing health professional instead of pressing a button or indicating with their hand that they heard a sound.
Speech testing is important for the hearing health professional to understand where some of the problems lie with a patient and their hearing loss. Speech is important to our everyday and is very important is communicating with others and with general daily function. These three tests together, pure-tone, bone-conduction and speech testing, all help the hearing health professional to diagnose a patient’s hearing loss and what the next course of action should be for the patient.