Non-verbal visual reinforcement affects speech audiometry in the elderly

Federica Di Berardino, Stella Forti, Valentina Mattei, Dario Alpini, Antonio Cesarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate how non-verbal visual reinforcement provided by the audiologist during speech testing influences performance in the elderly. Thirty-two volunteers with age-related hearing loss with or without dual sensory-impairment (DSI), were administered a speech audiometry test in which they repeated lists of ten disyllabic words in two different conditions, namely with and without visual reinforcement. In the conditions of "with visual reinforcement", the tester provided non-verbal cues to acknowledge the response of each participant. The "visual reinforcement" condition did not apparently provide any significant variation in the results. However, when we considered the group of patients without DSI, the non-verbal "visual reinforcement" resulted in better scores (p <0.001). Non-verbal visual reinforcement may influence speech audiometry results in the elderly. During speech testing of elderly people with age-related hearing loss, audiologists should always remember to administer visual reinforcement to the patients in order to remove a possible confounding factor from audiological evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1370
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Speech audiometry
  • Visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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