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Why does Filtering Low Frequencies Affect the ABR Response in Infants?

James W. Hall III, PhD

July 29, 2013

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Question

If ABR using a click stimulus produces a response between 2-4 kHz, then why should filtering low frequencies in infants affect the ABR response?

Answer

Stimulation of the cochlea with clicks activates hair cells from the base to the apex. However, the ABR is generated when auditory neurons innervating inner hair cells in the basal region begin firing. Actually, it's possible to record a normal ABR even in patients with very poor hearing in the 2000 to 4000 Hz region but normal hearing for higher frequencies. We rarely see such patients in the clinic.

The frequency specificity of the stimulus and cochlear activity is not directly correlated with the spectrum of the ABR. In other words, the energy in the ABR (from about 100 Hz up to at least 1000 Hz) is related to neural firing in the auditory nerve and auditory regions of the brainstem, not the region of the cochlea that is stimulated. The ABR spectrum is essentially the same whether the stimulus is a 8000 Hz tone burst or a 500 Hz tone burst, or a click. 

The same concept also applies to behavioral hearing. The response to a pure tone at a specific frequency is tonotopic from the cochlea to the cortex. Certain hair cells or neurons respond depending on the frequency. However, the nature of the response (e.g., the firing rate, etc) is the same for all frequencies.

For an in-depth discussion of this topic, please view Dr. Hall’s recorded course on AudiologyOnline, Application of ABR in Objective Assessment of Infant Hearing


james w hall iii

James W. Hall III, PhD

James W. Hall III, PhD is an internationally recognized audiologist with 40-years of clinical, teaching, research, and administrative experience. He received his Ph.D. in audiology from Baylor College of Medicine under the direction of James Jerger.  During his career, Dr. Hall has held clinical and academic audiology positions at major medical centers. Dr. Hall now holds appointments as Professor at Salus University and the University of Hawaii, and as Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria South Africa. Dr. Hall is the author of over 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, monographs, or book chapters, and nine textbooks including the 2014 Introduction to Audiology Today and the 2015 eHandbook of Auditory Evoked Responses.

 


Related Courses

Update on Auditory Evoked Responses: Evidence-Based ABR Protocol for Infant Hearing Assessment
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Course: #27299Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Clinically applicableExcellent presentation style and very understandable'   Read Reviews
A clinically feasible and effective protocol for infant hearing assessment with ABR is described. Research findings support all recommended stimulus and acquisition parameters. This course is open captioned.

Please note: You may earn ABA Tier 1 credits for this course if you complete it as part of the course 27890.

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