Clinical evaluation and test-retest reliability of the IHR-McCormick Automated Toy Discrimination Test

Br J Audiol. 1994 Jun;28(3):165-79. doi: 10.3109/03005369409086564.


The IHR-McCormick Automated Toy Discrimination Test (ATT) measures the minimum sound level at which a child can identify words presented in quiet in the sound field. This 'word-discrimination threshold' provides a direct measure of the ease with which a child can identify speech and a surrogate measure of auditory sensitivity. This paper describes steps taken to maximize the test-retest reliability of the ATT and to enable it to measure word-discrimination thresholds in noise as well as in quiet. It then describes the results of a clinical evaluation of the ATT in which paediatric audiologists measured word-discrimination thresholds in quiet from 215 successive attendees (in the age range 2 to 13 years) at a paediatric audiology clinic presenting over a 2-month period. When children with atypical cognition or delayed development of language were excluded, 72% of the children provided two word-discrimination thresholds and 83% provided at least one word-discrimination threshold. Children who failed to provide word-discrimination thresholds were generally younger than four years of age. Although a few children who could not perform pure-tone or warble-tone audiometry managed to provide word-discrimination thresholds, most children who could perform the ATT could also perform pure-tone audiometry. The average pure-tone threshold in the better-hearing ear could be predicted from the word-discrimination threshold with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 13 dB. The test-retest reliability of the ATT was measured in two ways. First, to enable comparison with published results, the within-subjects standard deviation of word-discrimination thresholds was calculated. It varied as a function of age and degree of impairment, but was never worse than 3.3 dB. Children of four years of age and older displayed the adult reliability of 2.3 dB. Second, the variability of absolute differences between word-discrimination thresholds was calculated. It was such that a change of 7 dB between two runs of the test (e.g. aided and unaided) would be expected to occur by change less than one time in 20. These results extend previous evaluations of the ATT to a clinically representative population and confirm that word-discrimination thresholds provide a useful complement to warble-tone and pure-tone audiometry.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Audiometry, Speech
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech Reception Threshold Test*