COAE thresholds: 1. Effects of equal-amplitude versus subtraction methods

Tracy S. Fitzgerald, Beth A. Prieve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Although research has demonstrated that click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (COAEs) elicited by high-level stimuli are useful for identifying hearing loss, the ability of COAEs to predict behavioral thresholds has not been adequately tested. Results of studies comparing COAE thresholds and behavioral thresholds have been equivocal, perhaps due to the need for a more rigorous approach to COAE threshold estimation. The present study was designed to address several methodological concerns in COAE threshold testing, particularly the effects of two methods of stimulus presentation on COAE testing and threshold calculation. In an attempt to make COAE threshold estimation consistent across participants, COAE threshold calculations were based on mean noise floor levels across participants. COAE and noise floor levels were measured in 15 participants using both equal-amplitude clicks and a subtraction method. Broadband COAEs were analyzed into 1/3 octave bands, so that input/output functions could be examined and COAE thresholds could be calculated for each 1/3 octave band. Comparison of the two stimulus methods indicated several differences. Mean noise floor levels for the equal- amplitude method were approximately 6 dB lower than those measured for the subtraction method across frequency. In many cases COAEs evoked using the equal-amplitude method were higher in amplitude than those evoked using the subtraction method. COAE thresholds measured using the equal-amplitude click stimuli were significantly lower than those measured using the subtraction method. The significantly higher thresholds obtained using the subtraction method may be attributed in part to the reduction of COAE amplitude by the subtraction procedure, and not merely to the higher noise level. Slopes of the input/output functions were not significantly different between the two stimulus methods. These results suggest that the equal-amplitude method is preferable for COAE threshold testing because lower noise floor and larger amplitude COAEs may be obtained in the same test time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1164-1176
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Otoacoustic emission methods
  • Otoacoustic emissions
  • Thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'COAE thresholds: 1. Effects of equal-amplitude versus subtraction methods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this