J Am Acad Audiol 2012; 23(02): 092-096
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.23.2.3
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2012) American Academy of Audiology

The Words-in-Noise Test (WIN), List 3: A Practice List

Richard H. Wilson
Kelly L. Watts
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Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2020 (online)

Background: The Words-in-Noise Test (WIN) was developed as an instrument to quantify the ability of listeners to understand monosyllabic words in background noise using multitalker babble (Wilson, 2003). The 50% point, which is calculated with the Spearman-Kärber equation (Finney, 1952), is used as the evaluative metric with the WIN materials. Initially, the WIN was designed as a 70-word instrument that presented ten unique words at each of seven signal-to-noise ratios from 24 to 0 dB in 4 dB decrements. Subsequently, the 70-word list was parsed into two 35-word lists that achieved equivalent recognition performances (Wilson and Burks, 2005). This report involves the development of a third list (WIN List 3) that was developed to serve as a practice list to familiarize the participant with listening to words presented in background babble.

Purpose: To determine—on young listeners with normal hearing and on older listeners with sensorineural hearing loss—the psychometric properties of the WIN List 3 materials.

Research Design: A quasi-experimental, repeated-measures design was used.

Study Sample: Twenty-four young adult listeners (M = 21.6 yr) with normal pure-tone thresholds (≤20 dB HL at 250 to 8000 Hz) and 24 older listeners (M = 65.9 yr) with sensorineural hearing loss participated.

Data Collection and Analysis: The level of the babble was fixed at 80 dB SPL with the level of the words varied from 104 to 80 dB SPL in 4 dB decrements.

Results: For listeners with normal hearing, the 50% points for Lists 1 and 2 were similar (4.3 and 5.1 dB S/N, respectively), both of which were lower than the 50% point for List 3 (7.4 dB S/N). A similar relation was observed with the listeners with hearing loss, 50% points for Lists 1 and 2 of 12.2 and 12.4 dB S/N, respectively, compared to 15.8 dB S/N for List 3. The differences between Lists 1 and 2 and List 3 were significant. The relations among the psychometric functions and the relations among the individual data both reflected these differences.

Conclusions: The significant ˜3 dB difference between performances on WIN Lists 1 and 2 and on WIN List 3 by the listeners with normal hearing and the listeners with hearing loss dictates caution with the use of List 3. The use of WIN List 3 should be reserved for ancillary purposes in which equivalent recognition performances are not required, for example, as a practice list or a stand alone measure.