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Frequency-specific auditory brainstem responses: relationship to behavioural thresholds in cochlear-impaired adults.

Auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds to ipsilaterally masked tone pip stimuli were obtained from three groups of hearing-impaired subjects. Using high-pass (for 500 Hz tone pips) and notched noise (for 1, 2 and 4 kHz tone pips), ABR thresholds in subjects with low-frequency, high-frequency or flat cochlear hearing losses were compared to conventional pure tone audiometric thresholds.

A strong positive correlation was found between ABR and behavioural threshold elevation.

Absolute ABR thresholds at 500 Hz were significantly higher than those at other frequencies.

The results of this study indicate that frequency-specific ABR testing can provide an approximation of both degree and configuration of hearing loss in adults. Further refinements of testing and judging procedures are needed, however, to reduce the variation evident in our results and thus achieve the accuracy required for most clinical applications.