Speech Auditory Brainstem Response through hearing aid stimulation
Hear Res
Bellier L
Veuillet E
Vesson JF
Bouchet P
Caclin A
Thai-Van H

Millions of people across the world are hearing impaired, and rely on hearing aids to improve their everyday life. Objective audiometry could optimize hearing aid fitting, and is of particular interest for non-communicative patients. Speech Auditory Brainstem Response (speech ABR), a fine electrophysiological marker of speech encoding, is presently seen as a promising candidate for implementing objective audiometry; yet, unlike lower-frequency auditory-evoked potentials (AEPs) such as cortical AEPs or auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs), aided-speech ABRs (i.e. speech ABRs through hearing aid stimulation) have almost never been recorded. This may be due to their high-frequency components requesting a high temporal precision of the stimulation. We assess here a new approach to record high-quality and artifact-free speech ABR while stimulating directly through hearing aids. In 4 normal-hearing adults, we recorded speech ABR evoked by a /ba/ syllable binaurally delivered through insert earphones for quality control or through hearing aids. To assess the presence of a potential stimulus artifact, recordings were also done in mute conditions with the exact same potential sources of stimulus artifacts as in the main runs. Hearing aid stimulation led to artifact-free speech ABR in each participant, with the same quality as when using insert earphones, as shown with signal-to-noise (SNR) measurements. Our new approach consisting in directly transmitting speech stimuli through hearing aids allowed for a perfect temporal precision mandatory in speech ABR recordings, and could thus constitute a decisive step in hearing impairment investigation and in hearing aid fitting improvement. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.