Development of an 80-word clinical version of the modified rhyme test (MRT80)

Douglas S. Brungart, Matthew J. Makashay*, Benjamin M. Sheffield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The modified rhyme test [MRT; House, Williams, Hecker, and Kryter. (1965). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 37, 158-166] is a widely used test for measuring the intelligibility of communication systems [ANSI (2009). S3.2 (American National Standards Institute, New York)] but has never gained widespread acceptance as a clinical test of speech intelligibility for listeners who are hearing impaired (HI). In this study, a clinical version of the MRT consisting of two 80-word lists was developed and tested on 2394 service members with varying levels of hearing loss. The test used a factorial design incorporating two speech levels [70 and 78 dB sound pressure level (SPL)], two signal-to-noise ratios (+4 and −4 dB), and two binaural conditions (diotic and binaural). High-frequency emphasis reduced the impact of audibility for HI listeners, focusing the test on the distortion component of hearing loss. The results show that listeners with normal hearing (NH) obtained an average score of 80% correct on the MRT80 test. Listeners with a moderate hearing impairment scored an average of 70% correct. The overall level had little impact on performance for either NH or HI listeners. The results demonstrate that the MRT80 test could be a useful test to assess the distortion effects of hearing loss on speech intelligibility, particularly in cases where it is desirable to use a closed-set test for automatic dministration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3311-3327
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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