SUN TEST: A New Proposal on Hearing Screening for Adults
Introduction: Implementation of hearing screening programs at any point during a person’s lifetime is gaining global attention. Hearing screening can promote individual consciousness about handicaps, and it can help to detect deafness during an opportunistic time, so that rehabilitation can be offered earlier. Evidence shows that adult hearing screening should focus on the difficulties experienced by the people with a hearing problem, which includes difficulties in challenging listening situations. In order to pursue this aim, the Speech Understanding in Noise (SUN) test was developed in Italy. The test consists of a list of intervocalic consonants (vowel-consonant-vowel) in background speech-shaped noise presented in a three-alternative forced-choice paradigm.
Objective: Development of the SUN test in Portuguese.
Methods: This development consisted of two phases. Phase 1: Equalization of test stimuli by measuring psychometric curves of each vowel-consonant-vowel for a wide range of signal-to-noise ratio (−10 dB to +8 dB) with a test population of 30 normal-hearing young adults (18-25 years; mean 22.53). Phase 2: Analysis and categorization of test outcomes from an overall population of 101 adults (30-85 years old; mean; 52.71).
Results: Phase 1: The level of noise for each vowel-consonant-vowel was measured to define an appropriate signal-to-noise ratio. Phase 2: Test outcomes were classified in three categories in agreement with different degrees of hearing loss: “no hearing difficulties,” “a hearing check would be advisable,” and “a hearing check is recommended.”
Conclusion: The SUN test in Portuguese was developed, enabling a hearing screening test for adults in Brazil.
Keywords: adult hearing screening, speech-in-noise, speech understanding.