Auditory threshold sensitivity of the human neonate as measured by the auditory brainstem response

Yvonne S. Sininger, Carolina Abdala, Barbara Cone-Wesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The absolute auditory sensitivity of the human newborn infant was investigated using auditory brainstem response thresholds (ABR). ABRs were elicited with clicks and tone-bursts of 0.5, 1.5, 4.0 and 8.0 kHz, embedded in notched noise, in healthy, full-term human neonates and young adults with known, normal-hearing sensitivity. Stimuli were calibrated using a probe microphone positioned near the tympanic membrane in the ear canal of each subject to control for differences in resonance characteristics of infant and adult ear canals. ABR thresholds were also characterized relative to group psychophysical thresholds (nHL) and relative to individual psychophysical threshold or sensation level (SL) for the adult subjects. Infant ABR thresholds measured in p.e. SPL for all stimuli are elevated by to 3-25 dB relative to adult thresholds. Threshold elevation is greatest for the high-frequency stimuli. Results are consistent with neural immaturity for high-frequency stimuli in the auditory system of human neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • auditory brainstem response
  • auditory threshold
  • frequency-specific response
  • neonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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