ABR thresholds to tonebursts gated with Blackman and linear windows in adults with high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss

Suzanne C. Purdy*, Paul J. Abbas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The goal of this study was to determine whether tonebursts gated on and off using a nonlinear, exact-Blackman-gating function would be a more frequency-specific stimulus for auditory brain stem response audiometry than the more traditional 2-1-2 cycle linearly gated toneburst. Design: Toneburst ABRs were recorded in 10 adults with normal hearing and in 18 adults with sloping high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. It was hypothesized that any advantage of the Blackman stimuli for frequency-specific threshold assessment should be evident in hearing-impaired subjects with hearing loss confined to the 2000 to 4000 Hz frequency region since spectral splatter in the toneburst stimuli could lead to an underestimation of hearing loss based on the ABR thresholds. ABR stimuli consisted of 2000- and 4000-Hz 2-1-2 (rise-plateau-fall) cycle linearly gated tonebursts and 1-0-1 msec exact-Blackman-gated tonebursts. An additional 0.5-0-0.5 msec 4000-Hz Blackman-gated toneburst was used to investigate whether the difference in rise/fall characteristics of the linearly and Blackman-gated tonebursts could account for any differences in ABR results at 4000 Hz. The ABR toneburst stimuli were calibrated behaviorally in 15 adults with normal hearing. Results: In the normal-hearing listeners toneburst-ABR thresholds generally exceeded behavioral thresholds by 10 to 13 dB for all stimuli. Correlations of 0.85 to 0.96 were obtained between 2000 and 4000 Hz toneburst ABR thresholds and pure-tone audiometric thresholds in the hearing-impaired listeners. Results were similar for Blackman- and linearly gated stimuli. Conclusions: There were no clear differences between Blackman- and linearly gated tonebursts in terms of how well ABR thresholds predicted puretone thresholds at 2000 and 4000 Hz. In general audiometric thresholds were predicted with good accuracy (± 15 dB) by the toneburst ABR thresholds. The 4000-Hz audiometric threshold was underestimated in one subject with a very steeply sloping hearing loss by both Blackman- and linearly gated toneburst ABR thresholds, indicating that ipsilateral masking such as notched noise would be needed to ensure frequency specificity in this and similar cases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)358-368
    Number of pages11
    JournalEar and Hearing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


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