Estimating the acoustic reflex threshold from wideband measures of reflectance, admittance, and power

M. Patrick Feeney, Douglas H. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: A method was developed to estimate the contralateral acoustic reflex threshold using shifts in wideband energy reflectance, admittance magnitude and power. Design: In the first experiment contralateral reflex thresholds for a noise activator were estimated on three adult participants using reflectance, admittance and power measurements at frequencies from 250 to 8000 Hz. The reflex threshold was defined using a magnitude and a correlation technique, both having the property of examining the pattern of the reflex-induced shift across a fairly broad frequency range (250 to 2000 Hz). In the second experiment, the magnitude method was modified to include an F test for the comparison of the magnitude of reflex-induced shifts in reflectance, admittance and power relative to response differences in a no-activator baseline condition. Data from four additional participants then were analyzed across a broader frequency range using a method that combined magnitude and correlation methods of estimating reflex thresholds. Results: Acoustic reflex thresholds were obtained using reflectance, admittance and power-level measures in all subjects in both experiments. Individual reflex threshold estimates were as much as 24 dB lower than with the clinical system, with an average of approximately 14 dB lower for the three participants in the first experiment, and approximately 18 dB lower for the four participants in the second experiment. Conclusions: Wideband measures of reflectance, admittance and power were successfully used to estimate acoustic reflex thresholds in seven participants. A reflex threshold test was devised based on the magnitude of the response shift in the presence of a contralateral activator, and the similarity of the response shift spectra across frequency between successive activator levels. Across all participants in the study, the new test yielded a more sensitive measure of the acoustic reflex threshold than the clinical method. This finding has both clinical and theoretical implications for the study of the acoustic reflex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-332
Number of pages17
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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