Speech Auditory Brainstem Responses in Adult Hearing Aid Users: Effects of Aiding and Background Noise, and Prediction of Behavioral Measures

Ghada BinKhamis*, Antonio Elia Forte, Tobias Reichenbach, Martin O’Driscoll, Karolina Kluk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Evaluation of patients who are unable to provide behavioral responses on standard clinical measures is challenging due to the lack of standard objective (non-behavioral) clinical audiological measures that assess the outcome of an intervention (e.g., hearing aids). Brainstem responses to short consonant-vowel stimuli (speech-auditory brainstem responses [speech-ABRs]) have been proposed as a measure of subcortical encoding of speech, speech detection, and speech-in-noise performance in individuals with normal hearing. Here, we investigated the potential application of speech-ABRs as an objective clinical outcome measure of speech detection, speech-in-noise detection and recognition, and self-reported speech understanding in 98 adults with sensorineural hearing loss. We compared aided and unaided speech-ABRs, and speech-ABRs in quiet and in noise. In addition, we evaluated whether speech-ABR F0 encoding (obtained from the complex cross-correlation with the 40 ms [da] fundamental waveform) predicted aided behavioral speech recognition in noise or aided self-reported speech understanding. Results showed that (a) aided speech-ABRs had earlier peak latencies, larger peak amplitudes, and larger F0 encoding amplitudes compared to unaided speech-ABRs; (b) the addition of background noise resulted in later F0 encoding latencies but did not have an effect on peak latencies and amplitudes or on F0 encoding amplitudes; and (c) speech-ABRs were not a significant predictor of any of the behavioral or self-report measures. These results show that speech-ABR F0 encoding is not a good predictor of speech-in-noise recognition or self-reported speech understanding with hearing aids. However, our results suggest that speech-ABRs may have potential for clinical application as an objective measure of speech detection with hearing aids.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • aided speech-ABR
  • background noise
  • hearing aid
  • Speech-ABR
  • speech-in-noise performance


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