Whispered pectoriloquy is a test performed during a medical physical examination to evaluate for the presence of consolidation in the lungs, which could be caused by cancer or pneumonia. The test is similar to the test for bronchophony and egophony. The physician often asks the patient to whisper “ninety-nine” or "sixty-six" while listening over the lung fields: the sound will be louder in areas where consolidation is present.
The choice of "ninety-nine" is the unfortunate result of a literal translation. The test was originally described by a German physician who used the phrase "neun und neunzig", which he chose because it contains diphthongs calculated to cause maximum vibration of the chest. The translation, "ninety-nine", has fewer vowels and is less effective in evoking the phenomenon. Better phrases in English include "toy boat”, "Scooby Doo", and “blue balloons".
Increased loudniness of whispering "1-2-3". Usually it is not heard when whispered.