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Speech testing in adult audiology (Parmar et al., 2022)

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posted on 2022-06-23, 21:09 authored by Bhavisha J. Parmar, Saima L. Rajasingam, Jennifer K. Bizley, Deborah A. Vickers

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate hearing health care professionals’ (HHPs) speech testing practices in routine adult audiology services and better understand the facilitators and barriers to speech testing provision.

Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted.

Study Sample: A sample (N = 306) of HHPs from the public (64%) and private (36%) sectors in the United Kingdom completed the survey.

Results: In the United Kingdom, speech testing practice varied significantly between health sectors. Speech testing was carried out during the audiology assessment by 73.4% of private sector HHPs and 20.4% of those from the public sector. During the hearing aid intervention stage, speech testing was carried out by 56.5% and 26.5% of HHPs from the private and public sectors, respectively. Recognized benefits of speech testing included (a) providing patients with relatable assessment information, (b) guiding hearing aid fitting, and (c) supporting a diagnostic test battery. A lack of clinical time was a key barrier to uptake.

Conclusions: Use of speech testing varies in adult audiology. Results from this study found that the percentage of U.K. HHPs making use of speech tests was low compared to that of other countries. HHPs recognized different benefits of speech testing in audiology practice, but the barriers limiting uptake were often driven by factors derived from decision makers rather than clinical rationale. Privately funded HHPs used speech tests more frequently than those working in the public sector where time and resources are under greater pressure and governed by guidance that does not include a recommendation for speech testing. Therefore, the inclusion of speech testing in national clinical guidelines could increase the consistency of use and facilitate the comparison of practice trends across centers.

Supplemental Material S1. A summary of survey study results provided by HHPs in relation to the implementation of speech testing practices in adult audiology across the world. 

Supplemental Material S2. Survey: Speech testing in Adult Audiology (UK).

Supplemental Material S3. All survey responses. 

Parmar, B. J., Rajasingam, S. L., Bizley, J. K., & Vickers, D. A. (2022). Factors affecting the use of speech testing in adult audiology. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre Deafness and Hearing Problems theme (B.J.P., PhD studentship). D.A.V. was funded by a Medical Research Council Senior Fellowship in Hearing (MR/S002537/1). D.A.V. and B.P. were funded by an NIHR program grant for applied research (201608). This research was funded, in whole or in part, by Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (to J.K.B.; Grant 098418/Z/12/Z)