What is the Ling Six Sound Test?

When you or your child start your rehabilitation journey with a hearing implant, more than likely you will come across the Ling Six Sound Test. It’s a simple way to check if someone can hear the speech sounds that they need to build their listening and speaking skills.

The Ling Six Sound Test was designed to tell us what a person can hear across the full spectrum of sound. It is a diagnostic listening check that can tell us a great deal about a person’s listening access. There are six sounds used for the test. These are familiar speech sounds that can be heard by people of all ages with normal hearing, from infants to adults alike. We encourage you to do the test every day to ensure that your hearing implants are providing you with full access to speech.

Watch Natalie Teakle explaining in a 3 minutes video in Episode 1 how this is applied:

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Let’s Look At What Each Sound Tells Us About Listening:

/oo/ This sound checks that very low sounds can be heard, including all the low vowel sounds. Detection of this sound may help with music appreciation.

/m/ This sound checks that you can hear low frequency sounds, like vowels in all the words we hear.

/ah/ This sound checks access to all the mid-frequency sounds. If someone cannot detect this sound confidently, they may also struggle to hear words that are not as obvious in conversation. For example: ‘the’ or ‘a’ in phrases, word beginnings like ‘un’ in unhappy, and word endings such as ‘s’ in cats, ‘ed’ in ‘jumped’ or ‘ing’ in ‘dancing’.

/sh/ This is a high frequency sound. A person with severe or profound hearing loss may not be able to hear this sound without their hearing implant.

/s/ This is a very high frequency sound. A person with severe or profound hearing loss may not hear this sound without their hearing implant. When we listen to someone communicate, many of the speech sounds are located in this high frequency area. So if someone cannot detect this sound, they will have difficulty understanding spoken language and having conversations with others.

/ee/ This sound is actually both a high and a low frequency on the speech spectrum. A person’s imitation of this sound will tell us a lot about what they can hear. If they repeat the sound correctly, we know they have good access at both high and low frequencies. If they say /s/ when imitating the sound, it might mean they have trouble hearing low frequencies. If they say /oo/ when imitating the sound, they may have trouble hearing the high frequencies.


Always report any changes in your or your child’s responses to a hearing professional and audiologist.

Find out some tips for performing the Ling 6 Sound test here.

Think you might have hearing loss? Try our online hearing tests and see how much you can hear.

Have you heard about SONNET 2? Discover how our latest cochlear implant audio processor is made for your child.

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