The multilingual matrix test: Principles, applications, and comparison across languages: A review

Int J Audiol. 2015;54 Suppl 2:3-16. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2015.1020971. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


Objective: A review of the development, evaluation, and application of the so-called 'matrix sentence test' for speech intelligibility testing in a multilingual society is provided. The format allows for repeated use with the same patient in her or his native language even if the experimenter does not understand the language.

Design: Using a closed-set format, the syntactically fixed, semantically unpredictable sentences (e.g. 'Peter bought eight white ships') provide a vocabulary of 50 words (10 alternatives for each position in the sentence). The principles (i.e. construction, optimization, evaluation, and validation) for 14 different languages are reviewed. Studies of the influence of talker, language, noise, the training effect, open vs. closed conduct of the test, and the subjects' language proficiency are reported and application examples are discussed.

Results: The optimization principles result in a steep intelligibility function and a high homogeneity of the speech materials presented and test lists employed, yielding a high efficiency and excellent comparability across languages. The characteristics of speakers generally dominate the differences across languages.

Conclusion: The matrix test format with the principles outlined here is recommended for producing efficient, reliable, and comparable speech reception thresholds across different languages.

Keywords: Speech intelligibility in noise; effect of language; speech reception threshold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Acoustics
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Comprehension
  • Humans
  • Multilingualism*
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Observer Variation
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Speech Acoustics
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech Reception Threshold Test / methods*
  • Voice Quality