Audiometric thresholds: Stimulus considerations in sound field and under earphones

Linda W. Norrix, Alora Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study evaluates a new stimulus, FREquency Specific Hearing assessment (FRESH) noise, to obtain hearing thresholds and reviews the potential pitfalls of using narrow band noise. Method: Twelve adults with simulated gradually sloping hearing loss and 12 adults with steeply sloping hearing loss participated. Hearing thresholds were measured in sound field and under a supraaural earphone for FRESH noise, warbled tones, and narrowband noise. Pure-tone thresholds were also measured under the supraaural earphone. Results: FRESH noise thresholds were similar to pure-tone and warbled-tone thresholds regardless of audiometric configuration. For the group with gradually sloping hearing loss, thresholds obtained with narrowband noise were approximately 4 dB better than those obtained with the other test stimuli. For the group with steeply sloping hearing loss, narrowband noise significantly underestimated hearing thresholds—the steeper the hearing loss, the greater the underestimation. Conclusions: When hearing loss is suspected, FRESH noise is appropriate for accurately determining audiometric thresholds in sound field and under earphones. A wider band, attention-getting stimulus such as narrowband noise can result in thresholds that are inaccurate. Clinical decision making regarding choice of test stimulus is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-493
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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