The use of cortical auditory evoked potentials to evaluate neural encoding of speech sounds in adults

Katrina Agung*, Suzanne C. Purdy, Catherine M. McMahon, Philip Newall

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    There has been considerable recent interest in the use of cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) as an electrophysiological measure of human speech encoding in individuals with normal as well as impaired auditory systems. The development of such electrophysiological measures such as CAEPs is important because they can be used to evaluate the benefits of hearing aids and cochlear implants in infants, young children, and adults that cannot cooperate for behavioral speech discrimination testing. The current study determined whether CAEPs produced by seven different speech sounds, which together cover a broad range of frequencies across the speech spectrum, could be differentiated from each other based on response latency and amplitude measures. CAEPs were recorded from ten adults with normal hearing in response to speech stimuli presented at a conversational level (65 dB SPL) via a loudspeaker. Cortical responses were reliably elicited by each of the speech sounds in all participants. CAEPs produced by speech sounds dominated by high-frequency energy were significantly different in amplitude from CAEPs produced by sounds dominated by lower-frequency energy. Significant effects of stimulus duration were also observed, with shorter duration stimuli producing larger amplitudes and earlier latencies than longer duration stimuli. This research demonstrates that CAEPs can be reliably evoked by sounds that encompass the entire speech frequency range. Further, CAEP latencies and amplitudes may provide an objective indication that spectrally different speech sounds are encoded differently at the cortical level.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)559-572
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


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