speech audiometry

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is an assessment of the patients ability to understand speech. The patient is played a tape of a series of words at varying intensities. The percentage of words correctly repeated is plotted against the intensity to produce a speech audiogram. Phonetically balanced words should be used.


  • normal hearing - all words are understood if played at a suitable intensity
  • conductive deafness - all words are again understood but only when played at a much higher intensity
  • sensorineural deficits - patient may fail to understand all the words despite a higher intensity. Speech discrimination is poor due to loudness recruitment - a condition associated with cochlea disease in which soft sounds are not heard but loud sounds are heard at their normal or higher intensities

The various parameters used include: (1)

  • Speech detection threshold
  • Speech reception threshold
  • Speech discrimination score
  • Word recognition score