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Clinical and tuning fork tests

The simplest clinical test of hearing uses the voice. A whispered voice test is still sometimes of value, and is performed by the examiner standing behind the patient and whispering words in an unforced whisper from a range of 23ft in quiet surroundings. Ideally, balanced short words with two long syllables (spondaic words) should be used. Examples include ‘football’, ‘doorstep’ and ‘lamp-post’. The subject is asked to repeat each word aloud if heard. An accurate response indicates substantially normal hearing in at least one ear.