Live Versus Recorded (Word Recognition Issues)
Mendel and Owen (2011) evaluated test administration time differences for recorded versus live voice speech audiometry presentations. The stimuli were 50 word versions of the North-Western University Auditory Test # 6 (lists 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A of the NU-6) lists. Three groups participated; Group One included 20 young listeners with normal hearing (mean age 30 years), Group Two included 19 older listeners (mean age 66 years) with a mean pure-tone average hearing loss of 43 dB HL (ranging from mild to severe), and Group Three included 20 talkers (mean age 33 years).
The average presentation time for monitored live voice (MLV) was statistically significantly shorter than were the presentations of recorded materials to the combined Groups One (normal hearing) and Group Two (people with hearing loss). However, as the authors note, the majority of all patients tested by audiologists have hearing loss, and for people with hearing loss the average test administration time difference (between live and recorded 50 word lists) was less than one minute (49 seconds) – which is not clinically significant.
Further, as many audiologists appear to use half lists (25 words), the 49-second average difference (between 50 word presentations) would likely be less than one half of a minute, given a 25-word list.
Nonetheless, to reduce speaker variability, as well as microphone mis-placement, speaker loudness calibration issues, to reduce articulation errors and inaccuracies, the recommended standard of practice is to use recorded stimuli for reliable and accurate diagnosis.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Guthrie LA, Mackersie CL. (2009) A Comparison of Presentation Levels to Maximize Word Recognition Scores. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (20)6:381-390.
Jerger J. (2010) Editorial: New Horizons in Speech Audiometry? Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 21(7).
Mendel LL. (2008) Current Considerations in Pediatric Speech Audiometry. International Journal of Audiology. 47:546-553.
Mendel LL, Owen SR. (2011) A Study of Recorded Versus Live Voice Word Recognition. International Journal of Audiology 50:688-693.