Gender distinctions and lateral asymmetry in the low-level auditory brainstem response of the human neonate

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Threshold measures of auditory brainstem response (ABR) were generated in 72 full-term newborn infants in response to clicks and tone burst stimuli between 500 and 8000 Hz as detailed in a previous study. These results were further analyzed for differences in response related to ear (lateral asymmetry) and subject gender. Thresholds obtained in male infants were significantly lower than those of females (P = 0.0485). The greatest differences in threshold between male and female infants occurs in the right ear (7.45 dB) as opposed to the left ear (1.56 dB). Both male and female infants have significantly larger wave V amplitude elicited from the right ear than the left (P = 0.0002) using low-level stimuli. Also, as has been noted in adults, female infants have larger amplitude ABRs than males (P = 0.0018), but amplitude differences across gender are significant only in the right ear (ear by gender interaction P= 0.0278). Results of this study indicate that gender differences and lateral asymmetry in auditory function are not a result of gender bias for or unbalanced auditory trauma, but a biologically significant phenomenon that is present at birth. The argument is made that superior right ear performance may be part of cerebral laterality in auditory function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1998


  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Gender difference
  • Human neonate
  • Lateral asymmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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