To describe the influence of pure-tone audiometry and age on the speech recognition score in noise, both in audiological patients and also in a random population sample.
In a cross-sectional study, speech recognition scores (SRS) using monosyllabic words presented in a fi-ed background noise were evaluated on 1895 audiological patients of both genders with normal hearing or sensorineural hearing losses. The background noise was speech weighted and presented with a signal to noise ratio of +4 dB. In 291 participants, SRS in quiet was estimated as well. A female random population sample also was tested (N = 513).
The major predictor for the SRS-noise was high-frequency hearing thresholds. If hearing was normal, age had no effect on speech recognition. Young persons with hearing loss had higher SRS-noise than older persons with the same degree of hearing loss. The difference between young and old persons became larger the greater the hearing loss. Predictive SRS-noise with consideration taken to hearing function and age are presented. SRS-noise correlated stronger with pure-tone audiometry and age than SRS-quiet. Controls performed better (by 10 to 20%) than their same-aged peers with similar hearing loss.
It is recommended that speech recognition tests be performed in background noise. SRS-noise is a valuable tool for audiologists and audiological physicians to identify patients in need of pedagogic rehabilitation programs or further diagnostic investigations.