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HNO. 2013 Jul;61(7):586-91. doi: 10.1007/s00106-012-2598-7.

[Evaluation of the Freiburg monosyllabic speech test in background noise].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1HNO-Praxis, Wissenschaftliches Institut für angewandte HNO-Heilkunde, Bad Bramstedt.



The Freiburg speech test has been the gold standard in speech audiometry in Germany for many years. Previously, however, this test had not been evaluated in assessing the effectiveness of a hearing aid in background noise. Furthermore, the validity of particular word lists used in the test has been questioned repeatedly in the past, due to a suspected higher variation within these lists as compared to the other word list used.


In this prospective study, two groups of subjects [normal hearing control subjects and patients with SNHL (sensorineural hearing loss) that had been fitted with hearing aid] were examined. In a first group, 113 control subjects with normal age- and gender-related pure tone thresholds were assessed by means of the Freiburg monosyllabic test under free-field conditions at 65 dB. The second group comprised 104 patients that had been fitted with hearing aids at least 3 months previously to treat their SNHL. Members of the SNHL group were assessed by means of the Freiburg monosyllabic test both with and without hearing aids, and in the presence or absence of background noise (CCITT-noise; 65/60 dB signal-noise ratio, in accordance with the Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique), under free-field conditions at 65 dB.


The first (control) group exhibited no gender-related differences in the Freiburg test results. In a few instances, inter-individual variability of responses was observed, although the reasons for this remain to be clarified. Within the second (patient) group, the Freiburg test results under the four different measurement conditions differed significantly from each other (p>0.05). This group exhibited a high degree of inter-individual variability between responses. In light of this, no significant differences in outcome could be assigned to the different word lists employed in the Freiburg speech test.


The Freiburg monosyllabic test is able to assess the extent of hearing loss, as well as the effectiveness of a fitted hearing aid, in the presence or absence of background-noise (CCITT-noise). The present study could not evidence statistically significant differences in outcome when using the different word lists in this test battery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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