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Effects of hearing aid processing on cortical auditory evoked potentials in normal hearing individuals Meagher, Kelsey Marie


Cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) are currently being investigated as a tool for validation in hearing aid fittings. There is some conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of CAEPs in this capacity. CAEPs are influenced by stimulus parameters and hearing aids can change these parameters in an unpredictable manner. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of rise time after hearing aid processing on the CAEP of 23 normal hearing participants. Two different duration stimuli (60 ms and 120 ms) were processed by three different hearing aids and the output of each hearing aid was recorded. The stimulus parameters were measured for each condition and the stimuli were presented to each participant through an insert earphone. Two blocks of stimuli were used (1) Raw (varied SNR and intensity) and (2) Equalized/Filtered (equalized SNR and intensity). The electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded and the P1-N1-P2 amplitudes and latencies were measured for each condition. A three-factor ANOVA was conducted to observe the effects of (1) rise time, (2) duration, and (3) SNR. A main effect of rise time was observed on the N1-P2 amplitude. This result indicated that hearing aid processing can increase the rise time enough to elicit a decrease in the N1-P2 amplitude. No effects were observed on amplitudes or latencies of the N1-P2 with the alternative stimulus parameters (SNR and duration). Prior to using CAEPs clinically for validation of hearing aid fittings, normative standards should be established. This ensures that differences in the N1-P2 amplitudes are due specifically to audibility and not to the altered stimulus parameter (i.e., after hearing aid processing). Further research should also be conducted on individuals with hearing loss to see if the effects observed in this study would be present with this population. In addition, comparisons of behavioural and CAEP methods of validation would be helpful in determining the validity and reliability of using these methods clinically.

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