Temporal integration and compression near absolute threshold in normal and impaired ears

Christopher J. Plack, Vicki Skeels

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The decrease in absolute threshold with increasing stimulus duration (often referred to as "temporal integration") is greater for listeners with normal hearing than for listeners with sensorineural hearing loss. It has been suggested that the difference is related to reduced basilar-membrane (BM) compression in the impaired group. The present experiment tested this hypothesis by comparing temporal integration and BM compression in normal and impaired ears at low levels. Absolute thresholds were measured for 4, 24, and 44 ms pure-tone signals, with frequencies (fs) of 2 and 4 kHz. The difference between the absolute thresholds for the 4 and 24 ms signals was used as a measure of temporal integration. Compression near threshold was estimated by measuring the level of a 100 ms off-frequency (0.45 fs) pure-tone forward masker required to mask a 44 ms pure-tone signal presented at sensation levels of 5 and 10 dB. There was a significant negative correlation between amount of temporal integration and absolute threshold. However, there was no correlation between absolute threshold and compression at low levels; both normal and impaired ears showed a nearly linear response. The results suggest that the differences in integration between normal and impaired ears cannot be explained by differences in BM compression. © 2007 Acoustical Society of America.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2236-2244
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Aged
    • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
    • physiology: Auditory Threshold
    • physiopathology: Basement Membrane
    • Female
    • physiology: Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner
    • physiology: Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer
    • physiopathology: Hearing Loss, Sensorineural
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • physiology: Perceptual Masking
    • Recruitment Detection, Audiologic
    • Reference Values


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