An electrophysiological measure of binaural hearing in noise

Jeffrey Weihing, Frank E. Musiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: A common complaint of patients with (central) auditory processing disorder is difficulty understanding speech in noise. Because binaural hearing improves speech understanding in compromised listening situations, quantifying this ability in different levels of noise may yield a measure with high clinical utility. Purpose: To examine binaural enhancement (BE) and binaural interaction (BI) in different levels of noise for the auditory brainstem response (ABR) and middle latency response (MLR) in a normal hearing population. Research Design: An experimental study in which subjects were exposed to a repeated measures design. Study Sample: Fifteen normal hearing female adults served as subjects. Normal hearing was assessed by pure-tone audiometry and otoacoustic emissions. Intervention: All subjects were exposed to 0, 20, and 35 dB effective masking (EM) of white noise during monotic and diotic click stimulation. Data Collection and Analysis: ABR and MLR responses were simultaneously acquired. Peak amplitudes and latencies were recorded and compared across conditions using a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: For BE, ABR results showed enhancement at 0 and 20 dB EM, but not at 35 dB EM. The MLR showed BE at all noise levels, but the degree of BE decreased with increasing noise level. For BI, both the ABR and MLR showed BI at all noise levels. However, the degree of BI again decreased with increasing noise level for the MLR. Conclusions: The results demonstrate the ability to measure BE simultaneously in the ABR and MLR in up to 20 dB of EM noise and BI in up to 35 dB EM of noise. Results also suggest that ABR neural generators may respond to noise differently than MLR generators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-495
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Binaural hearing
  • Central auditory processing disorder
  • Diagnostics
  • Middle latency response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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