EAL Toy Test

This test was developed by Dr Sue Bellman of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Eric Triggs and Merle Mahon of University College, London. They found that the test materials  such as the McCormick toy test, were less effective in identifying hearing difficulties in children  who spoke English as an additional language. They identified words acquired by young Asian immigrant children and produced a developmentally and culturally appropriate set of 14 words.

*The original EAL test used CAR/BATH as a pair. However, many customers working in northern areas of the UK find that this does not work phonetically. Therefore, we have changed the pair to CAR/STAR

The “EAL” toy discrimination test uses 12 paired words which it has been found, are generally recognised by children who speak English as a second language. Each word in the list has a matching toy and a paired item with similar vowel or diphthong, but differing consonants.

The child is asked to identify each toy, any not identified are removed from the test. The child is placed in front of the toys and asked to “show me the ….”. This is requested at differing sound levels and a child with normal hearing should be able to discriminate between items at a listening level of 40 dB(A).  The criteria for passing this test is when a child gives four correct responses out of five requests. Current recommendations are that any child who cannot pass the test at 40 dB(A) should be referred to a specialist Audiology Centre.

The advantage of this test is that it is very simple. Parents and teachers can immediately see the natural confusion which can arise when a child has a slight hearing difficulty.

A full description of the test is given in “Evaluation of the E2L Toy Test as a screening procedure in clinical practice”, British Journal of Audiology 1996, pages 286-296

For further details of the EAL word list, please contact Dr Merle Mahon at