Samantha Krocak

Comparison of Auditory Brainstem Responses Using Speech Made With Click-phase or Chirp-phase

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is an objective method to identify hearing loss in young children. But the ABR uses brief click-like sounds that are boring for toddlers who cannot nap, sit still, or participate in behavioral testing. To make the test more engaging, audiobooks were modified to be more click-like so that ABRs could be measured using speech. This study compared two ways of converting the speech – click versus chirp phases – to determine which speech gives the biggest ABRs in the fastest recording time. Eleven adults with normal hearing were recruited. They listened to an hour each of click- and chirp-speech while their ABRs were recorded. The time for the ABRs to reach a criterion signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was calculated, which was based on when ABRs were clearly visible. ABR responses for chirp-speech had larger amplitudes than the click-speech and took about half the recording time to reach the criterion SNR. 80% of the participants had good ABRs within 30 minutes for chirp-speech but >60 minutes for click-speech. In summary, chirp-speech is more effective – and thus, efficient – than click-speech for ABR testing using engaging audio. Faster testing times will be important for future ABR testing in toddlers.