Comparison of objective threshold estimation procedures for 40–hz auditory evoked potentials

Robert A. Dobie, Michael J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Objective threshold estimation is possible using statistics such as magnitude-squared coherence (MSC) and responses such as the 40-Hz auditory evoked potential (AEP). The purpose of this paper is to compare three general methods of threshold estimation using MSC. Design: Using 500-Hz amplitude-modulated tones and 40–Hz AEPs from 10 paid–volunteer young adults with normal hearing, we compared three MSC–based threshold estimation methods-extrapolation, intensity series, and adaptive. Results: The extrapolation method yielded low thresholds but unacceptable variability. The intensity series method was insensitive and time–consuming. Two adaptive methods displayed good performance in terms of precision and sensitivity. The first employed an MSC criterion with a 13.5% false positive rate (per trial), but achieved overall false positive rates under 5% after 5 to 7 runs, requiring 30 to 40 minutes test time (a run is a single set of ascending or descending trials, terminated by a reversal). The second, which performed better overall, included only a single run, but collected more data at intensities near threshold than at higher intensities; test time could be further reduced (from 22 to 18 minutes) by using a stopping rule based on initial MSC and noise power estimates at each test intensity. If speed is paramount, a simple single–run method achieved threshold estimates in about 9 minutes, starting at 40 dB nHL, with acceptable precision but less sensitivity. Conclusions: A single-run adaptive method, with or without collection of additional data near threshold, yielded the best results, in terms of statistical performance and data collection time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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