Audiologists can look forward to reinvigorating their APD test batteries this Northern Spring when Phonak,  Warrenville, Ill, plans to launch a new spatial-information diagnostic system called the Listening in Spatialized Noise—Sentences Test—or LiSN-S.

Developed by Australia’s National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) and distributed exclusively by Phonak, LiSN-S,  the system uses full sentences of speech to identify problems children can face when they are not able to use the spatial information in sound.

“We see LiSN-S as a breakthrough in the acoustic assessment of children, and we are confident our close partnership with Phonak will ensure audiologists quickly learn about and can benefit from this unique diagnostic system,” said Harvey Dillon PhD, director of research at NAL.

Offered as a combined hardware and software package, LiSN-S comprises a proprietary PC software program, special headphones, and a USB-attachable PC sound card. Once installed, the system employs advanced mathematical algorithms to create a virtual 3-D acoustic space under the headphones.

Within the space, a hearing professional can simulate different speech environments, with target and distracter voices competing for the child’s attention.

By asking a child to repeat sentences spoken by the target voice, the audiologist can assess the child’s ability to identify target speech in challenging situations, such as those that a child might encounter in the classroom.

The entire single-patient test takes just 20 minutes, and clear results are provided in easy-to-print document format.

LiSN-S is highly sensitive and due to to its high test-retest reliability, it can be used to determine whether a child’s listening skills have improved after some form of intervention. Norms already exist for children ages 6 to 11 years, 11 months.