What is the Speech Perception Test?

Ever find yourself second guessing if you heard your partner say you “could” do something or if you “should” do something? Guess wrong and it may lead to a rather uncomfortable conversation!

For those with untreated hearing loss, mishearing words that sound similar but mean different things, can become a common occurrence and cause increasing frustration in everyday situations.

This is where the Speech Perception Test (or SPT) comes in. The SPT is a scientifically-validated online hearing test developed in Australia by Peter Blamey and the team at our sister company Blamey Saunders with the objective of measuring real-world hearing performance. By focusing on every day words, instead of machine-made beeps to test your hearing, you can understand exactly what words you are missing out on and our team are able to better understand your hearing health and tailor a solution to best suit your needs.

The SPT recites you 50 randomly selected, phonetically balanced words to listen to and identify. Once completed, you receive a score out of 50, for how many words you identified correctly.

How does it work?

Every word is made up of short sounds (called phonemes). When you lose your hearing it is hard to hear some of these sounds and therefore you can mis-hear words. The most common sounds missed are: s; sh; ch and st. This means:

‘Mouse’ might be heard as ‘Mouth’

‘Shoe’ might be heard as ‘Zoo’

Sounds like “s” are high frequency and sound like “d” are low frequency on the sound spectrum. So answers generated from the SPT provide a unique picture of your hearing health, and tells us how well you hear specific words and what types of sounds you may be missing.

The overall score you receive after completing the SPT, is an easy way to track how your hearing health changes from year to year or before and after hearing aids are fitted. You can also see which frequencies are most challenging for you. Words containing low frequency sounds are shown on the left of the chart and progressively higher frequency word sounds to the right hand side.

Does the SPT replace the need for a traditional face-to-face hearing test in a clinic?

The SPT shows very similar information to the traditional “beep” test you may be familiar with. Compare the shape made by the height of the columns in your SPT results, with an audiogram from a beep test, you will notice that they follow a similar path. The advantage of the SPT is that you can take it from anywhere, it utilises real life examples and the results provided offer an easy to understand image of your hearing health.
SPT and Audiogram
Any hearing test needs to be accompanied by a thorough, in-depth understanding of history and hearing needs, to create the best personalised hearing solution, whether supported by our Telehealth or in-clinic teams.

Our experts will always review your results, whether that be SPT or in-clinic audiogram, and will further explore any sudden or high hearing loss or significantly different levels of hearing loss in each ear, with more diagnostic testing or a face to face appointment. This is to ensure we fully understand your hearing loss and can find the hearing solution that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

Some clients also just prefer to come into a clinic and that’s okay. Every persons hearing journey and preference is different and our team are here to help provide the best level of care in a way that suits your needs best.

What are the benefits of completing the SPT? 

  • The SPT is free, takes only 5 minutes to complete and can be done at home, or work, without the need to come into a clinic
  • The SPT offers accurate, easy-to-understand results immediately
  • The SPT is a great tool to gauge where you are, in terms of your hearing abilities and level of speech understanding
  • The SPT is  a really useful to better understand the results of a traditional audiogram or to help validate your hearing aid fitting
  • You can complete the SPT as many times as you wish and can even use it to track your hearing as it changes over time, with and without hearing aids.
  • The SPT can be used to measure the improvements hearing aids make to your hearing
If you think you might be struggling with hearing loss - or maybe it’s your partner, parent or close friend – completing the SPT is the first step to really understanding your hearing health. Our team are here to help and have a variety of hearing solutions available to fit all lifestyle and personal needs.

The SPT has given thousands of Australians insights into their hearing, its FREE and it only takes 5 minutes to complete, so go on – why not start your journey to better hearing health today?