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EAL Toy Test

Dr Sue Bellman of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Eric Triggs and Merle Mahon of University College, London 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 (EAL). They identified words acquired by young Asian immigrant children and produced a developmentally and culturally appropriate set of 14 words.

These are the words used:

  • CAR - STAR
  • BED - EGG
  • DUCK - CUP

The EAL toy discrimination test uses paired words which 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.

As with the McCormick Toy Test, 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.

This test is also available on the Parrot automated test, consisting of the hardware and software needed to complete the tests. It has the advantage of a standardised voice, allowing meaningful comparisons over time. The Parrotplus and Parrotplus2 are updated versions of this.

The Phoenix is a more complex automated based on the EAL Toy Test. It can also perform speech in noise testing and warble tone.

Age range

Over two years of age

Who can use it?

An audiologist, Teacher of the Deaf, educational audiologist.


  • It’s simple to use.
  • Children like the toys.
  • Parents and teachers can immediately see the natural confusion which can arise when a child has a slight hearing difficulty.
  • The EAL Toy Test is one of the tests which can be used on automated speech systems such as the Parrot.


  • Children need to know the toys by name so may need pre-teaching.
  • The assessment needs to be carried out in acoustically treated settings.
  • Parrot, Parrotplus and Phoenix systems are all expensive, and heavy to carry to different locations.

Is there a cost? 


Where can I access it?

You can access the test on the Soundbyte Solutions website