There is quite a wide variety of hearing assessments and tests that we can use to assess the hearing ability of our patients.
Traditionally, we use what is known as ‘pure tones’ to perform Pure Tone Audiometry. Pure tones are single pitches of sound, usually tested from 250Hz to 8000Hz. This makes it very easy to calibrate the test signal very accurately to ensure really good test/re-test reliability. The patient is asked to listen through headphones and press a button every time they hear a beep or a buzz, even if they are very faint.
But we don’t go through life hearing only beeps and buzzes. Speech and language are very rich and complex, containing many different pitches, or frequencies at the same time. Also, the range of frequencies is much broader. The LTASS or Long-Term Average Speech Spectrum for humans covers 100Hz to around 10,000Hz so it is important to consider testing actual speech when doing a hearing test.
QuickSIN is a test of speech performance in noise, something we really care about when fitting hearing aids. The patient is asked to listen to a series of spoken sentences with some background noise present. There are six sentences in each run, and with each sentence, the background noise gets closer to the volume of the speaker. This gives the Audiologist a figure known as a Signal to Noise Ratio hearing loss which helps them to determine the overall function of your auditory system. A high score might indicate for example that you need a remote FM microphone to hear well in noise.
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