Speech audiometry is a key component of audiological assessment. Because it uses the kind of auditory signals present in everyday communication, speech audiometry can tell us, in a more realist manner than with pure tones, how an auditory disorder might impact communication in daily living. Also, the influence of disorder on speech processing can be detected at virtually every level of the auditory system.
Speech measures can thus be used diagnostically to examine processing ability and the manner in which it is affected by disorders of the middle ear, cochlea, auditory nerve, brainstem pathways, and auditory centers in the cortex. In addition, there is a predictable relation between a person’s hearing for pure tones and hearing for speech. Thus, speech audiometric testing can serve as a cross-check of the validity of the pure tone audiogram.