Electroencephalography (EEG) signal is an electrophysiological recording from electrodes placed on the scalp to reflect the electrical activities of the brain. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) is one type of EEG signals in response to an auditory stimulus, and it has been widely used to evaluate the potential disorders of the auditory function within the brain. Currently, the ABR measurements in the clinic usually adopt a fixed stimulation rate (FSR) technique in which the late evoked response could contaminate the ABR signals and deteriorate the waveform differentiation after averaging, thus compromising the overall auditory function assessment task. To resolve this issue, this study proposed a random stimulation rate (RSR) method by integrating a random interval between two adjacent stimuli. The results showed that the proposed RSR method was consistently repeatable and reliable in multiple trials of repeated measurements, and there was a large amplitude of successive late evoked response that would contaminate the ABR signals for conventional FSR methods. The ABR waveforms of the RSR method showed better wave I–V morphology across different stimulation rates and stimulus levels, and the improved ABR morphology played an important role in early diagnoses of auditory pathway abnormities. The correlation coefficients as functions of averaging time showed that the ABR waveform of the RSR method stabilizes significantly faster, and therefore, it could be used to speed up current ABR measurements with more reliable testing results. The study suggests that the proposed method would potentially aid the adequate reconstruction of ABR signals towards a more effective means of hearing loss screening, brain function diagnoses, and potential brain–computer interface.
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.
- auditory brainstem response
- random stimulation rate
- hearing loss
- hearing impairment