Stenger Test

11 February 2022
10 mins

What is the Stenger test?

The Stenger test is based on the auditory phenomenon “The Stenger Principle” and is used when a patient is suspected malingering a hearing loss. The Stenger Principle states that only the louder of two similar tones presented to both ears at the same time will be perceived. Generally, it is recommended only to perform the Stenger test in cases of unilateral hearing losses or significant asymmetries (at least 20dB).


Required equipment

  • Headphones or insert phones
  • A response button


How to perform the Stenger test

Stenger test example with a two-channel audiometer

  1. Press and hold the Tests button and use the scroll wheel to select Stenger. The Stenger test is as default set to present tones in both channel 1 and 2 simultaneously when pressing the tone switch of channel 1.
  2. Typically, the instruction to the patient is not different than with normal audiometry. The patient should not be informed that stimuli are presented at both ears simultaneously.
  3. Use Channel 2 for presenting tones to the better ear and set the intensity level to 10 or 20dB above the threshold (the example above shows 20dB).
  4. Use channel 1 for presenting tones to the poorer ear and set the intensity level 10 or 20dB below the level of the poor ear (the example above shows 40dB).
  5. Press the tone switch to present the tone on both channels. Keep the intensity level of the better ear fixed and increase the intensity for the worse ear in 5dB steps.

The speech Stenger test is identical, but with the use of speech material instead.


What is a negative Stenger test result?

If the hearing loss in the worse ear is genuine, the patient will keep responding to the signal presented to the better ear (negative Stenger).


What is a positive Stenger test result?

If the patient is simulating the hearing impairment, he will not respond to the stimuli, which shows that the tone presented in the poorer ear is better than what the individual indicates (positive Stenger).



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