The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate the potential value of the Performance versus Intensity (PI) function in both research and clinical settings. The PI function describes recognition probability as a function of average speech amplitude. In effect, it shows the cumulative distribution of useful speech information across the amplitude domain, as speech rises from inaudibility to full audibility. The basic PI function can be modeled by a cubed exponential function with three free parameters representing: (a) threshold of initial audibility, (b) amplitude range from initial to full audibility, and (c) recognition probability at full audibility. Phoneme scoring of responses to consonant-vowel-consonant words makes it possible to obtain complete PI functions in a reasonably short time with acceptable test–retest reliability. Two examples of research applications are shown here: (a) the preclinical behavioral evaluation of compression amplification schemes, and (b) assessment of the distribution of reverberation effects in the amplitude domain. Three examples of clinical application show data from adults with different degrees and configurations of sensorineural hearing loss. In all three cases, the PI function provides potentially useful information over and above that which would be obtained from measurement of Speech Reception Threshold and Maximum word recognition in Phonectically Balanced lists. Clinical application can be simplified by appropriate software and by a routine to convert phoneme recognition scores into estimates of the more familiar whole-word recognition scores. By making assumptions about context effects, phoneme recognition scores can also be used to estimate word recognition in sentences. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the PI function is an easily available, potentially valuable, but largely neglected resource for both hearing research and clinical audiology.