Chinese speech audiometry material: Past, present, future

 Ma, X.,McPHERSON, B. and Ma, L. Chinese speech audiometry material: Past, present, future. Hearing, Balance and Communication, 11, 52-63. 2013

Speech audiometry plays an important role in the assessment of hearing abilities, as it may more accurately reflect auditory function in the daily communication environment of listeners than other auditory assessment measures. Speech perception tests have been developed for over a century in Western countries, and they are commonly used procedures in North America and Europe, as well as Australia. The course of history and scientific progress has influenced speech audiometry in both its clinical and research aspects. Test materials developed from syllables and words to phases and sentences, and test protocols have evolved from using only simple speech stimuli in quiet to hearing-in-noise tests. In the early years, the purpose of speech audiometry was primarily to evaluate telecommunication systems. Today, speech tests are more often applied to assess speech perception abilities for individuals with hearing impairment. In addition to aiding diagnosis of the location of peripheral auditory pathology and measuring (central) auditory processing abilities, with the development of auditory amplification devices speech tests are also utilized to assess the outcomes of hearing aid and cochlear implant rehabilitation. Compared to the well documented speech test materials of Western countries, development in this field in China has been relatively delayed. A lack of material standardization, few test versions for the numerous Chinese dialect groups or for non-Chinese language minority populations, and insufficient test materials for children, have obstructed the development of speech audiometry in China. This review highlights key research milestones in the development of Chinese speech audiometry material, including work conducted in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and suggests priorities for future research in this field in China.