Bone-conduction auditory steady-state response thresholds: Effects of maturation and hearing loss

Tests to detect hearing loss measure the ability of sound vibrations at different frequencies to reach the brain. Hearing tests measure the ability to hear either air-conducted sounds (sounds that reach the inner ear through the ear canal) or bone-conducted sounds (sounds transmitted through bones in the ear and skull). Susan Small received a 2001 MSFHR Trainee Award to study an emerging method for testing hearing focused on auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs), which objectively measure response to sound stimuli. Studies show that ASSRs can accurately estimate hearing levels for air-conducted sounds. However, there is no data on the effectiveness of ASSRs in measuring hearing levels in infants for bone-conducted sounds. Susan is building on her earlier research by estimating bone-conduction hearing thresholds for infants when using ASSRs. Results from this research could improve hearing assessments and early diagnosis of hearing loss in infants.