McCormick Toy Test

This test consists of 14 paired words and is ideal for children with a mental age of 2 years plus.

The test was developed by Professor Barry McCormick OBE (Director – retired, Children’s Hearing and Assessment Centre, Nottingham) and was first published in 1977.  It is widely used in clinics and hospitals as an effective way of identifying hearing difficulties in young children aged 18 months and above.

The McCormick toy discrimination test uses 14 paired words, which are generally recognized by children from an early age.  Each word in the list has a matching item in the set and a paired item with a 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 “Screening for Hearing Impairment in Young Children” by Prof Barry McCormick OBE, Whurr Publishers Ltd. ISBN 1-897635-66-4.