Perceptual and electrophysiological masking of the auditory brainstem response : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
Effective masking levels of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) to tonepips were established on 10 normal-hearing subjects at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, using white
noise. Effective masking levels of perceptual responses to the same stimuli were also established, for both presentation of single (1/second) and repeated (41.7/second) tonepips. Perceptual masking levels for repeated tonepips were significantly higher than levels for single tonepips, indicating temporal summation effects.
Levels which effectively masked the ABR did not differ significantly from perceptual masking levels at either presentation rate. A signal-to-noise ratio of -5 to
-10 dB was found to provide effective masking for all conditions. For the stimulus and recording parameters in the present study, a behavioural method of determining effective masking levels is considered appropriate.
Behavioural thresholds determined for single tonepips were higher than thresholds for repeated tonepips, demonstrating dependence of nHL behavioural references for ABR thresholds on stimulus repetition rate. Effective masking levels determined in the present study may be applied to the use of tonepip ABRs to provide an objective frequency-specific measure of hearing in infants.