A Pilot Study with a Standardized Speech Test for Detecting Hearing Impairment in Adults
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0118-0122german translation / full article
Background: Presbyacusis is a common disease of elderly people, which may lead to social isolation. To prevent this course, family practitioners seem to be best suited.
Methods: For more than two decades the so called “whispered voice test” has been available in English-speaking countries. Based upon this method the author tested in a monocentric study the reliability of a free-field voice test to identify hardness of hearing (hearing loss greater than 37 % compared to pure tone audiometry in 195 adults aged 45 years and older).
Results: In these 195 patients (45 to 89 years old; average: 64,2 years) of the author’s practice a sensitivity of 99 % and a specificity of 76 % was found in detecting the defined hearing loss – simply with the examiner’s voice in his usual consulting room. By a negative test result a defined hearing loss can virtually be excluded.
Conclusions: Although the general validity of the results should be evaluated on the basis of a multicenter study, the present data could encourage each family physician to make his own experiences with this simple but effective diagnostic tool.