Most Comfortable and Uncomfortable Loudness Levels Six Decades of Research Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2004
Most Comfortable and Uncomfortable Loudness Levels
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jerry Punch, PhD
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
    Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
  • Antony Joseph
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Brad Rakerd
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: jpunch@msu.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Research and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2004
Most Comfortable and Uncomfortable Loudness Levels
American Journal of Audiology, December 2004, Vol. 13, 144-157. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2004/019)
History: Received December 8, 2003 , Revised March 24, 2004 , Accepted June 4, 2004
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2004, Vol. 13, 144-157. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2004/019)
History: Received December 8, 2003; Revised March 24, 2004; Accepted June 4, 2004

This article critically reviews the influence of such factors as psychophysical testing method, stimulus type, and instructional set on most comfortable loudness (MCL) and uncomfortable loudness (UCL) levels. Generally, research indicates that test methods and instructions strongly affect both MCL and UCL while stimulus conditions affect them less substantially. Overall, the data suggest lower reliability for MCL than for UCL and lower reliability for pure-tone MCLs than for speech MCLs. Lower MCLs are typically obtained when measured by an ascending approach, in contrast to a descending approach. Results suggest that audiological efforts should be directed toward the development of a standardized test procedure that yields adequately reliable and valid MCLs and UCLs for routine clinical use.

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