Estimating nonorganic hearing thresholds using binaural auditory stimuli

Linda W. Norrix, Vivian Rubiano, Thomas Mullera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Minimum contralateral interference levels (MCILs) are used to estimate true hearing thresholds in individuals with unilateral nonorganic hearing loss. In this study, we determined MCILs and examined the correspondence of MCILs to true hearing thresholds to quantify the accuracy of this procedure. Method: Sixteen adults with normal hearing participated. Subjects were asked to feign a unilateral hearing loss at 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 kHz. MCILs were determined. Subjects also made lateralization judgments for simultaneously presented tones with varying interaural intensity differences. Results: The 90% confidence intervals, calculated for the distributions, indicate that the MCIL in 90% of cases would be expected to be very close to threshold to approximately 17–19 dB poorer than the true hearing threshold. How close the MCIL is to true threshold appears to be based on the individual’s response criterion. Conclusions: Response bias influences the MCIL and how close an MCIL is to true hearing threshold. The clinician can never know a client’s response bias and therefore should use a 90% confidence interval to predict the range for the expected true threshold. On the basis of this approach, a clinician may assume that true threshold is at or as much as 19 dB better than MCIL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-495
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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