An investigation of the use of band-limited chirp stimuli to obtain the auditory brainstem response

Bell, S.L., Allen, R. and Lutman, M.E. (2002) An investigation of the use of band-limited chirp stimuli to obtain the auditory brainstem response International Journal of Audiology, 41, (5), pp. 271-278.


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Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) using clicks enable global objective estimation of hearing threshold. Recently, it has been suggested that a chirp stimulus may produce a synchronous response from a larger portion of the basilar membrane than a click, and that a chirp will produce a greater amplitude response than a click at the same sensation level. Various workers have modified the stimulus to achieve frequency specificity (e.g. using tone-bursts). The present investigation used band-limited chirp stimuli having the same frequency-delay characteristics as the chirp mentioned above that compensate for frequency-dependent cochlear delays. The intention was to generate highly synchronized neural responses across parts of the nerve fibre array. Stimuli were presented at sensation levels between 10 and 50 dB to 10 adult subjects. Wave V was consistently identifiable even for low-frequency stimuli. Wave V amplitude increased and latency decreased as stimulus frequency increased. The latency decrease is consistent with high-frequency responses arising from basal regions of the cochlea. ABR thresholds were defined by objective estimation and visual inspection. Average ABR thresholds were 16 dB higher than behavioural thresholds for high-frequency chirps (3000-6000 Hz), increasing to 25 dB for low-frequency chirps (375-750 Hz). These ABR thresholds are closer to behavioural thresholds and have a smaller variance than reported for tone-burst stimuli without masking. However, they are not as close as those reported for tone-bursts in notched noise. The disadvantage of the band-limited chirps is that they have a wider spectral spread than tone-bursts and hence may elicit a response from unwanted frequency regions of the basilar membrane.

Item Type: Article
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Organisations: Human Sciences Group
ePrint ID: 10590
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Date Deposited: 26 May 2005
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:57
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