Detection efficiency of auditory steady state evoked by modulated noise

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This study aimed to investigate the efficiency of Magnitude Squared Coherence (MSC) and Spectral F test (SFT) for the detection of auditory steady state responses (ASSR) obtained by amplitude-modulated noises.

Material and methods

Twenty individuals (12 women) without any history of neurological or audiological diseases, aged from 18 to 59 years (mean ± standard deviation = 26.45 ± 3.9 years), who provided written informed consent, participated in the study. The Audiostim system was used for stimulating and ASSR recording. The tested stimuli were amplitude-modulated Wide-band noise (WBN), Low-band noise (LBN), High-band noise (HBN), Two-band noise (TBN) between 77 and 110 Hz, applied in intensity levels of 55, 45, and 25 dB sound pressure level (SPL). MSC and SFT, two statistical-based detection techniques, were applied with a significance level of 5%. Detection times and rates were compared using the Friedman test and Tukey-Kramer as post hoc analysis. Also based on the stimulation parameters (stimuli types and intensity levels) and detection techniques (MSC or SFT), 16 different pass/fail protocols, for which the true negatives (TN) were calculated.


The median detection times ranged from 68 to 157s for 55 dB SPL, 68–99s for 45 dB SPL, and 84–118s for 25 dB SPL. No statistical difference was found between MSC and STF considering the median detection times (p > 0.05). The detection rates ranged from 100% to 55.6% in 55 dB SPL, 97.2%–38.9% in 45 dB SPL and 66.7%–8.3% in 25 dB SPL. Also for detection rates, no statistical difference was observed between MSC and STF (p > 0.05). True negatives (TN) above 90% were found for Protocols that employed WBN or HBN, at 55 dB SPL or that used WBN or HBN, at 45 dB SPL. For Protocols employing TBN, at 55 dB SPL or 45 dB SPL TN below 60% were found due to the low detection rates of stimuli that included low-band frequencies.


The stimuli that include high-frequency content showed higher detection rates (>90%) and lower detection times (<3 min). The noise composed by two bands applied separately (TBN) is not feasible for clinical applications since it requires prolonging the exam duration, and also led to a reduced percentage of true negatives.


On the other hand, WBN and HBN achieved high detection performance and high TN and should be investigated to implement pass/fail protocol for hearing screening with clinical population. Finally, both WBN and HBN seemed to be indifferent to the employed technique (SFT or MSC), which can be seen as another advantage of ASSR employment.

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