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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 May;117(5):3028-41.

Comparing different estimates of cochlear compression in listeners with normal and impaired hearing.

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  • 1Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


A loss of cochlear compression may underlie many of the difficulties experienced by hearing-impaired listeners. Two behavioral forward-masking paradigms that have been used to estimate the magnitude of cochlear compression are growth of masking (GOM) and temporal masking (TM). The aim of this study was to determine whether these two measures produce within-subjects results that are consistent across a range of signal frequencies and, if so, to compare them in terms of reliability or efficiency. GOM and TM functions were measured in a group of five normal-hearing and five hearing-impaired listeners at signal frequencies of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz. Compression values were derived from the masking data and confidence intervals were constructed around these estimates. Both measures produced comparable estimates of compression, but both measures have distinct advantages and disadvantages, so that the more appropriate measure depends on factors such as the frequency region of interest and the degree of hearing loss. Because of the long testing times needed, neither measure is suitable for clinical use in its current form.

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