Audiometric Thresholds: Stimulus Considerations in Sound Field and Under Earphones Purpose This study evaluates a new stimulus, FREquency Specific Hearing assessment (FRESH) noise, to obtain hearing thresholds and reviews the potential pitfalls of using narrow band noise. Method Twelve adults with simulated gradually sloping hearing loss and 12 adults with steeply sloping hearing loss participated. Hearing thresholds were ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2015
Audiometric Thresholds: Stimulus Considerations in Sound Field and Under Earphones
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda W. Norrix
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Alora Anderson
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Linda Norrix: norrix@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2015
Audiometric Thresholds: Stimulus Considerations in Sound Field and Under Earphones
American Journal of Audiology, December 2015, Vol. 24, 487-493. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0031
History: Received June 9, 2015 , Revised July 27, 2015 , Accepted July 31, 2015
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2015, Vol. 24, 487-493. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0031
History: Received June 9, 2015; Revised July 27, 2015; Accepted July 31, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This study evaluates a new stimulus, FREquency Specific Hearing assessment (FRESH) noise, to obtain hearing thresholds and reviews the potential pitfalls of using narrow band noise.

Method Twelve adults with simulated gradually sloping hearing loss and 12 adults with steeply sloping hearing loss participated. Hearing thresholds were measured in sound field and under a supraaural earphone for FRESH noise, warbled tones, and narrowband noise. Pure-tone thresholds were also measured under the supraaural earphone.

Results FRESH noise thresholds were similar to pure-tone and warbled-tone thresholds regardless of audiometric configuration. For the group with gradually sloping hearing loss, thresholds obtained with narrowband noise were approximately 4 dB better than those obtained with the other test stimuli. For the group with steeply sloping hearing loss, narrowband noise significantly underestimated hearing thresholds—the steeper the hearing loss, the greater the underestimation.

Conclusions When hearing loss is suspected, FRESH noise is appropriate for accurately determining audiometric thresholds in sound field and under earphones. A wider band, attention-getting stimulus such as narrowband noise can result in thresholds that are inaccurate. Clinical decision making regarding choice of test stimulus is discussed.

Acknowledgment
Special thanks to Dr. Frances Harris for her critical assistance during the design phase of this study.
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