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Cogn Neurodyn. 2017 Dec;11(6):515-527. doi: 10.1007/s11571-017-9448-y. Epub 2017 Jul 31.

Effects of spectral smearing of stimuli on the performance of auditory steady-state response-based brain-computer interface.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133-791 Korea.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea.
Contributed equally


There have been few reports that investigated the effects of the degree and pattern of a spectral smearing of stimuli due to deteriorated hearing ability on the performance of auditory brain-computer interface (BCI) systems. In this study, we assumed that such spectral smearing of stimuli may affect the performance of an auditory steady-state response (ASSR)-based BCI system and performed subjective experiments using 10 normal-hearing subjects to verify this assumption. We constructed smearing-reflected stimuli using an 8-channel vocoder with moderate and severe hearing loss setups and, using these stimuli, performed subjective concentration tests with three symmetric and six asymmetric smearing patterns while recording electroencephalogram signals. Then, 56 ratio features were calculated from the recorded signals, and the accuracies of the BCI selections were calculated and compared. Experimental results demonstrated that (1) applying smearing-reflected stimuli decreases the performance of an ASSR-based auditory BCI system, and (2) such negative effects can be reduced by adjusting the feature settings of the BCI algorithm on the basis of results acquired a posteriori. These results imply that by fine-tuning the feature settings of the BCI algorithm according to the degree and pattern of hearing ability deterioration of the recipient, the clinical benefits of a BCI system can be improved.


Brain–computer interface; Hearing impairment; Spectral smearing; Subjective experiment

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