Word Recognition Test AFTER Fitted w/ Hearing Aids?

Is a word recognition test typically administered AFTER a patient is fitted with new hearing aids at prescription? I’m wearing new HA’s (Philips HearLink 9030) purchased from COSTCO and the dispenser performed a Real Ear Measurement but not a word recognition test.

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I’m in the UK so may be different but I’ve quite often had a word recognition test once fitted with new HAs.

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I’ve only been asked “how does that sound”, I would like a word recognition as well. I’ve even tried to get a hearing test using the over the ears muffs with my aids but they all say it can’t be done because of all of the digital “helpers” interfering. (I did ask for them to be disabled but was told it couldn’t be done).
Ps. Your hearing loss is almost as bad as mine.


I have only been asked “how does that sound” as well - in a hospital room with no soft furnishing, so a lot of echo. Just the consultants voice - which may or may not chime with your hearing


Don’t think WRS is used much in the UK, or it is very rare, apart from maybe the NHS CI assessment (Cochlear Implant) Costco UK might do WRS, but since I have never been to any of their stores, I can’t confirm this…. Maybe a Costco UK hearing aid user, can chip in? Seems to be a big thing Stateside? The NHS A.uD, I saw last time, after the initial programming, and REM (a first time, for me) he stood about approximately 8 to 10 feet behind me, so I was unable to lip read, made a few different statements, in a normal voice, and each time he asked me to repeat exactly what he had said…. And that was my test, must admit, I think I got everything, it was pretty clear, although in the real world, with no background noise whatsoever, someone talking from behind you, in an acoustically sound proof room, is most certainly, not the norm…… Cheers Kev :upside_down_face:

After my hearing aids are adjusted and tweeked based on my test results I’m sent on my way to return in a couple of weeks for further adjustments. And contues until I’m happy. But I’m sure every place is different


LOL! I so LOVE and can relate to the idea here. It’s so basic it’s brilliant, but in all the 30-odd years I’ve bought and been fitted with aids, there has been absolutely NO TEST ever done with the aids in to see if I can hear the TONES or if my word recognition is like 100%. I’ve wondered why for the longest time … and then I’ve just resigned myself to the possibility that so many professionals in the hearing industry simply don’t WEAR the aids, so the thought would never occur to them that after plunking down $6K we’d maybe want verification that the dang things work?

I’ve got new Phonak Audeo Life aids coming in on July 7th. I would love to see if I could be re-tested with the aids in. Granted, the equipment typically goes in the ear, connected by wire to whatever Black Magic unit the technician is using outside the sound booth. But isn’t this the END GOAL? To get us to hear tones AND recognize words?

It’s so obvious, I have to guffaw that it isn’t our reality.


Yes, the WRS is VERY big over here in the US. I’ve never had a tone hearing test without it being followed by the WRS. In the old days, there’d be a recording where I’d hear a man’s voice (something I’m less able to hear with my low freq loss) recite almost nonsense words like: duck pond, side walk, fish pan, roof beam.

The problem is that my brain would have to figure out TWO words, and there is no context to them at all. There would be like 50 of these word pairs per ear (so 100 combinations of them for the total WRS). By the end, I’d stagger out of the booth and fall to my knees from mental exhaustion.

This past week, I had the tone test and WRS administered for the first time in 6 years. This was a new clinic for me, and the procedure was that the gal outside the sound both had a bobbing mike attached to a headset. She’d start on the words, and that dang mike (like a ball on top of a stick!) would bob back and forth, closer to and further away from her MOUTH. She had the volume adjusted differently for the two ears, and I actually ended up re-taking my right ear test cuz I just needed MORE volume to get a PERFECT score in both ears.

So. I can’t help but think the WRS is a bit flawed in its use. I hear female voices better than male; I need a pretty high volume; I need the words said SLOW; I think I’d do better with single words (like I got the other day) and NOT pairs of words. I was only asked like 15 words per ear the other day, not 50! There seems to be no standardization.

And at the end of the day, I really feel that we should be tested AGAIN for tones and WRS with our brand, spankin’ new AIDS in, eh? :slight_smile:


I’ve never had it done on the NHS until about 15 months ago. Now they seem to do it on me every visit.

Interesting @Zebras, I have been to several NHS Audiology departments, Inverness, Aberdeen, and Monklands, over the years, been 4 times to Inverness in the last 7 months or so, REM yes, but no WRS whatsoever, perhaps they are phasing this in? Cheers Kev :wink:

I believe that a a WRS at the time of initial fitting would not be of value because you need to be given some time for you brain to adjust to new aids. I’ve had a few WRSs done over the years at Costco. I blame part of my poor recognition on the male, British accented voice that they use for the test.

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If they were using two syllable words it was not a Word Recognition test but rather Speech Reception Threshold test. The two syllable words are reduced in volume until you are getting 50%. It is called an SRT or Speech Reception Threshold. A WRS should be given using single syllable words at a comfortable level and the percent you get right is you Word Recognition Score. Ideally it should be given using a recorded voice since there is so much variation in individual voices (male/female, base/treble or resonant/soft)


Thank you for your reply @1Bluejay, I have very little understanding of how WRS actually works, what is the actual aim or benefits from knowing your score, and moreover is it accurate when you get tested, for instance, do they add background noise, to simulate the real world? Cheers Kev :wink:

Once again, my DECADES of experience come to bear here … No, they don’t use background noise on the WRS when just words are being spoken into a headset that I’d be wearing in a soundproof booth, but I’ve also had the so-called “party” test where you either have to repeat back sentences or the gist of them as spoken in TOTAL party backgound noise (lively chatter, laughing, etc.,). That test was only administered to me with HAs ON, cuz I would not be able to hear a fire alarm go off without my “ears” in.

I think the WRS actually does serve some purpose tho! As imperfect as it is, it can tell an audi if your ear/brain connection is going down. That happened to me in the space of a year. One of my aids didn’t work very well, but I didn’t get in to see an audi for many months. He gave me the WRS and to our mutual shock, it was in the upper 50s. After that aid was fixed and I was re-tested the next year, the WRS in that ear was back up to “normal” for me: upper 70s.

If one loses the ability to discriminate words being said, the brain can deteriorate REALLY fast. Soon the person is unable to communicate and that leads to further decline, isolation and frustration. I was lucky that I peered into the abyss but was pulled back from the edge by my audi.

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I was Bil profoundly deaf, ans at this stage HA’s didn’t do much. My then AuD did compression, from then on every adjustment he did SRT & WRS. Just trying to extend my HA life before going CI.

Now with a CI both are always done with my annual mapping.


AHHH! That is MOST helpful! I never knew this till you explained it right here! Yes, I totally agree about the WRS being given by a recorded voice - and mine was not! I absolutely GROANED in anticipation, seeing that oddball mic on a bobbing stick the gal was wearing. Indeed, it was highly imperfect, and probably not very accurate or helpful. On TOP of which - I kid you not! - she was wearing a surgical face mask. Not that I’d read lips in the booth facing her (which I was) but it muffled the sound even more.

Face palm. :frowning_face:

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Thank you @1Bluejay, so I can safely assume this WRS is unaided? I would therefore most likely score zero on the left, or maybe the odd word? I get very little contextual information on the left, having said that, I do notice a big difference in my speech understanding if the left aid is out, or switched off…. On the right side, I am not sure, in normal speech, I will catch perhaps 1 out of 5 words unaided, the rest is guesswork, I can lip read fairly well, but only approximately 30% of words are clearly distinguishable on the lips, again it’s guesswork…. I suppose 50% or above should be achievable, if the volume is cranked up? Thank you again, I am much obliged for your post…… Cheers Kev :wink:


@Neville: Why not, Neville? Wouldn’t that be more scientific a measure of goodness of fit than “How does that sound?” I mean, audiology is supposed to be science, is it not?

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(I find it off-putting that my audiologist says to me “just drop your aids off with a note of what changes you want me to make.” Isn’t the HCP supposed to be advising me?)

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