The medial olivocochlear reflex in children during active listening

Spencer B. Smith, Barbara Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


To determine if active listening modulates the strength of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflex in children. Design: Click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAEs) were recorded from the right ear in quiet and in four test conditions: one with contralateral broadband noise (BBN) only, and three with active listening tasks wherein attention was directed to speech embedded in contralateral BBN. Study sample: Fifteen typically-developing children (ranging in age from 8 to14 years) with normal hearing. Results: CEOAE levels were reduced in every condition with contralateral acoustic stimulus (CAS) when compared to preceding quiet conditions. There was an additional systematic decrease in CEOAE level with increased listening task difficulty, although this effect was very small. These CEOAE level differences were most apparent in the 8-18 ms region after click onset. Conclusions: Active listening may change the strength of the MOC reflex in children, although the effects reported here are very subtle. Further studies are needed to verify that task difficulty modulates the activity of the MOC reflex in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-523
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAE)
  • attention
  • auditory Stroop task
  • contralateral inhibition
  • medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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