This is an assessment of the patient’s 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 are to 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 cochlear disease in which soft sounds are not heard but loud sounds are heard at their normal or higher intensities).