Word Recognition Test

Everyone has there own opinion. Eventually guessing will get you in trouble, when you guess the wrong thing. Good luck guessing.

It’s fine to guess. I encourage it.

Live voice WRS is next to useless. If someone is going to do it live, they might as well drop WRS completely.

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That is so bogus as you have stated before.

Why would you want to guess in this type of test? This is not a test to to get a 100 and pass. This is a test to to find out how bad your hearing is to set your hearing aids to help you hear better. If you happen to have a good day and guess correctly in 50% of the words, wouldn’t that give an improper result for them to base the correction on the aids?

I think I would rather not guess, so that they can set the aids more correctly, so that I can, hopefully, hear and understand better.

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Hearing aids are programmed based on pure-tone audiometry, never speech tests (like WRS). WRS are used primarily for two reasons:

  1. to see if you are a hearing aid candidate at all, as a very low percentage could indicate possible recruitment, which means words get “scrambled” at higher volumes. This would be part of the consideration for whether or not you could be a CI candidate.
  2. To see difference pre and post fitting. The percentage wont change, but you will (hopefully) achieve that percentage at a lower volume. So if your WRS was 80% at 70 dB pre fitting and 80% at 30 dB post fitting, you are benefitting from the aids.

If done properly, I think this is a valuable tool. And by properly, I mean in a sound booth with recorded voice. When I get a call that :my hearing aids just aren’t helping me understand people", I always ask them what their WRS score was. Many don’t know or were never told, but if they say they had 40% for example, I try to make the point that in perfect conditions, they missed over half the words. No hearing aid in the world is going to make an appreciable improvement on that. Not that they don’t help with general hearing, but there are limits to what they can do.

I believe the WRS can be a useful tool to help people understand their hearing loss.


You are right on the mark that even with hearing aids if you have a 40% WRS like I have you still miss what people are actually saying and they have to repeat or actually spell out the word you do not recognize. That is when people get angry at you and you have to show them the hearing aids and explain to them you did not get the last word. Pain in the butt. I hate it when that happens. I used to be able to read peoples lips but not with the masks. You have to rely on word recognition alone. And don’t get me started on understanding people with accents. That is a whole new ballgame.


When people say ‘I have a 50% hearing loss , do you think they are speaking of the WRS or is there a percentage tied to the audiogram specifically?

Totally agree with you. Masks and Accents are so hard. It seems like a lot of time passing to allow our brain to process what you Think you heard, then putting it into context of the conversation, processing that and then answering. It is stressful at times.

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I have 80% hearing loss on high tones and I have no idea on base tones. I know that I am mostly working off base. Some of that is lost also. Is your 50% on high or base tones? With my 40 % word recognition that is just on actually understanding what people are saying. Lip reading works but not since masks were mandated. I also have a Phonak device (Roger Select) that I can put on a table or give to someone that you are talking to by clipping on there shirt and it really helps understanding what people are saying because it goes directly into the hearing aid

I am curious how this 80% is figured. Not trying to argue, just curious.


After I was tested in the booth the audiologist stated that about 80% of my high tones are gone and that I am working mostly off base. When you hear the tones during the test I do not hear most of the high tones. I had my son in the booth with me once and I had head sets on for the test and he was sitting a couple of feet away and he said he could hear the tones but I did not raise my hand. He was shocked I could not hear them. I do not hear an ambulance when it is near me. Lost my job teaching because the young children had the tones I lost and I could not understand what they were saying.


If you look at my audiogram you will see I understand what you describe. I am also sympathetic to your job loss. My word recognition is 4% and 8% at 90 and 95 dB. Just got a cochlear implant in October. Planning to get a second implant pretty soon. The implant is pretty amazing. I am still very much working to learn speech again at this time.


stopped working in 95. NO one would hire me. I was 47. Since then the hearing only gets worse. Your chart is really amazing. I thought my hearing was bad. yours is terrible. I feel sorry for you. hope the implants work out. I myself am waiting for an android body to put my brain in that way everything is new. Agent Orange is also eating at my body. We all have problems. Comes with getting older

This got a chuckle out of me. I actually do pretty good. Self programming has been beneficial for a number of years. Just reached a point that is frustrating concerning hearing.

The OP asks about word recognition tests. My CI evaluation used recorded voices. The first test I was told to guess. I did very bad on word tests, 4% and 8%. But on sentence understanding I happen to be really good at guessing like many of us HOH people. I did right at 60% with aids in. We are an intuitive bunch due to our hearing loss.

Good luck with cochlear implant. So you have HAs along with the implant or just on the ear that doesn’t have the implant. Sorry for my ignorance. Not too familiar with CIs. Guessing makes life interesting. :sweat_smile:

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I do not understand how the 80% is calculated. Did your Audi tell you the basis of it. I don’t want to overthink this - but all the years people say for example “I only have 60% hearing in my left ear”. What does that mean? Maybe a Audi provider will post. TIA

Based on your response to the beeps during the testing in the booth. I only responded to 20% of the high tone beeps. I did not respond to 80% of them Hince-- 80% hearing loss on high tones. Plain and simple. Your audiologist should be able to tell you what percent you responded to or did not respond to.

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Thank you. I now understand-

I don’t think this is any kind of a standard. Standard is to report a dB loss.

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