Many patients cannot hear well in noisy environments, even when fitted with the latest digital, dual microphone devices. How can this be if they have completed a hearing evaluation and were given hearing aids? In most cases, it’s because the professional did not use a speech-in-noise test as part of their evaluation. Here, we’ll explain what a speech-in-noise test is and why you should consider having one if you have trouble understanding conversations when there’s background noise.
What Is a Speech-in-noise Test?
This type of test can be used to indicate how well a patient can understand speech in a noisy environment. They are designed to mimic background noises in real life circumstances. This test can provide valuable information about a person’s hearing ability and whether or not they have a sensorineural loss.
Why is This not Used as Often?
On its own, this is not a full-scale hearing test because it cannot provide the hearing care professional with all of the information needed to assess your hearing. However, it definitely should be part of your hearing test as this can help the professional determine a better hearing aid selection. It can also indicate whether or not the candidate should be using aural rehabilitation or other forms of technology for their condition.
Why Don’t Other Tests Work On Their Own?
For decades, we’ve relied on monosyllabic word lists to help with hearing aid selection. However, these tests are not a valid tool for fitting hearing aids because they are unreliable and do not test well in real-world conditions. Yet, many professionals still rely on them to make decisions regarding amplification. Speech-in-noise tests provide a more real-world setting and can offer better insights when used with other tests.
Why Are They Important?
Without testing how patients perform in real situations, two people with different SNR loss scores could have similar results with other audiogram tests. Without the SNR information, these two patients would be treated similarly, and the person with moderate SNR loss would not get the proper hearing aids that they really need. A speech-in-noise test can be used to determine a patient’s SNR loss score and help ensure they receive the proper hearing aids.
If you’re ready to talk to a hearing professional that offers all of the tests required to comprehensively determine better amplification choices for your hearing needs, contact us today!