The metric used to equate stimulus level [sound pressure level (SPL) or sensation level (SL)] between ears with normal hearing (NH) and ears with hearing loss (HL) in comparisons of auditory function can influence interpretation of results. When stimulus level is equated in dB SL, higher SPLs are presented to ears with HL due to their reduced sensitivity. As a result, it may be difficult to determine if differences between ears with NH and ears with HL are due to cochlear pathology or level-dependent changes in cochlear mechanics. To the extent that level-dependent changes in cochlear mechanics contribute to auditory brainstem response latencies, comparisons between normal and pathologic ears may depend on the stimulus levels at which comparisons are made. To test this hypothesis, wave V latencies were measured in 16 NH ears and 15 ears with mild-to-moderate HL. When stimulus levels were equated in SL, latencies were shorter in HL ears. However, latencies were similar for NH and HL ears when stimulus levels were equated in SPL. These observations demonstrate that the effect of stimulus level on wave V latency is large relative to the effect of HL, at least in cases of mild-to-moderate HL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics