Medizinische Physik

Internationally comparable screening tests for listening in noise in several European languages: The German digit triplet test as an optimization prototype

Zokoll MA, Wagener KC, Brand T, Buschermöhle M, Kollmeier B (2012)
International Journal of Audiology 51(9): 697-707
September 2012, online since July 4, 2012


Objective: A review is given of internationally comparable speech-in-noise tests for hearing screening purposes that were part of the European HearCom project. This report describes the development, optimization, and evaluation of such tests for headphone and telephone presentation, using the example of the German digit triplet test. In order to achieve the highest possible comparability, language- and speaker-dependent factors in speech intelligibility should be compensated for.
Materials and methods: The tests comprise spoken numbers in background noise and estimate the speech reception threshold (SRT), i.e. the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) yielding 50% speech intelligibility.
Results: The respective reference speech intelligibility functions for headphone and telephone presentation of the German version for 15 and 10 normal-hearing listeners are described by a SRT of −9.3 ± 0.2 and −6.5 ± 0.4 dB SNR, and slopes of 19.6 and 17.9%/dB, respectively. Reference speech intelligibility functions of all digit triplet tests optimized within the HearCom project allow for investigation of the comparability due to language specificities.
Conclusions: The optimization criteria established here should be used for similar screening tests in other languages.


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