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Whispered Voice Test

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Whispered Voice Test

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The Whispered Voice Test, also known as Hearing Whisper Test or simply the Whisper Test, is a quick and effective evaluation to assess a patient’s hearing ability. It aids in determining a patient’s ability to perceive whispered speech, providing valuable insights into their hearing ability.

What is the Whispered Voice Test?

The Whispered Voice Test is a straightforward evaluation to assess a patient’s hearing ability. During the test, the examiner gently occludes one ear canal with a finger, effectively masking external sounds. Standing at a distance of approximately 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) from the patient, the examiner then whispers one- or two- syllable words and prompts the patient to repeat them. This process is repeated for the other ear as well.

See Also: Weber Test Interpretation

Importance of the Whispered Voice Test:

Hearing Whisper Test serves as a valuable screening tool for detecting hearing impairment, especially in settings where specialized equipment may not be readily available. It helps identify individuals who may require further evaluation and intervention for hearing loss. By gauging the patient’s ability to perceive whispered speech, healthcare professionals can make informed decisions regarding their hearing health.

How do you do the Whisper Test?

The Whispered Voice Test follows a systematic procedure:

  1. Occlusion: The examiner gently occludes one ear canal to block external sounds, ensuring focus solely on whispered speech.
  2. Whispering: Standing at an appropriate distance, the examiner whispers one- or two-syllable words, assessing the patient’s ability to perceive speech.
  3. Patient Response: The patient is prompted to repeat the whispered words. Difficulty in repeating or failure to hear the whispered words indicates potential hearing impairment.
  4. Volume Adjustment: If the patient struggles to hear whispered speech, the examiner may gradually increase the volume until the patient responds appropriately.
  5. Repeat for Both Ears: The procedure is then repeated for the other ear to assess bilateral hearing ability.
Hearing Whisper Test

What is the normal result of the whisper test?

  • Adequate Hearing: Patients should be able to hear whispered words in each ear at a distance of 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) and respond correctly at least 50% of the time.
  • Hearing Impairment: Difficulty in hearing whispered speech or failure to respond appropriately may indicate hearing impairment, necessitating further evaluation by an audiologist or otolaryngologist.

Conclusion:

The Whispered Voice Test stands as a valuable tool in the armamentarium of healthcare professionals for assessing hearing ability. Its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency make it an indispensable screening tool, especially in resource-limited settings. By identifying individuals with hearing impairment early on, appropriate interventions can be initiated, thus improving overall quality of life.

References & More

  1. Orthopedic Physical Assessment by David J. Magee, 7th Edition.
  2. Seidel HM, Ball JW, Dains JE, et al. Mosby’s Guide to Physical Examination. St Louis: Mosby; 1987
  3. Swartz MH. Textbook of Physical Diagnosis. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1989
  4. Pirozzo S, Papinczak T, Glasziou P. Whispered voice test for screening for hearing impairment in adults and children: systematic review. BMJ. 2003 Oct 25;327(7421):967. doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7421.967. PMID: 14576249; PMCID: PMC259166. Pubmed
  5. Eekhof JA, de Bock GH, de Laat JA, Dap R, Schaapveld K, Springer MP. The whispered voice: the best test for screening for hearing impairment in general practice? Br J Gen Pract. 1996 Aug;46(409):473-4. PMID: 8949327; PMCID: PMC1239718. Pubmed
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