Objectives: The use of a suppressor tone has been proposed as the method of choice in obtaining single-generator distortion product (DP) grams, the speculation being that such DP grams will be more predictive of hearing thresholds. Current distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) theory points to the ear canal DPOAE signal being a complex interaction between multiple components. The effectiveness of a suppressor tone is predicted to be dependent entirely on the relative levels of these components. We examine the validity of using a suppressor tone through a detailed examination of the effects of a suppressor on DPOAE fine structure in individual ears. Design: DPOAE fine structure, recorded in 10 normal-hearing individuals with a suppressor tone at 45, 55, and 65 dB SPL, was compared with recordings without a suppressor. Behavioral hearing thresholds were also measured in the same subjects, using 2-dB steps. Results: The effect of the suppressor tone on DPOAE fine structure varied between ears and was dependent on frequency within ears. Correlation between hearing thresholds and DPOAE level measured without a suppressor was similar to previous reports. The effects of the suppressor are explained in the theoretical framework of a model involving multiple DPOAE components. Conclusions: Our results suggest that a suppressor tone can have highly variable effects on fine structure across individuals or even across frequency within one ear, thereby making the use of a suppressor less viable as a clinical tool for obtaining single-generator DP grams.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing