The clinical utility of the middle latency and 40Hz auditory evoked potentials in audiological electrodiagnosis
The two elcctrophysiological tests currently favoured in the clinical measurement of hearing threshold arc the brainstorm evoked potential (BAEP) and the slow vertex response (SVR). However, both tests possess disadvantages. The BAEP is the test of choice in younger patients as it is stable at all levels of arousal, but little information has been obtained to date at a range of frequencies. The SVR is frequency specific but is unreliable in certain adult subjects and is unstable during sleep or in young children. These deficiencies have prompted research into a third group of potentials, the middle latency response (MLR) and the 40HZ responses. This research has compared the SVR and 40HZ response in waking adults and reports that the 40HZ test can provide a viable alternative to the SVR provided that a high degree of subject relaxation is ensured. A second study examined the morphology of the MLR and 40HZ during sleep. This work suggested that these potentials arc markedly different during sleep and that methodological factors have been responsible for masking these changes in previous studies. The clinical possibilities of tone pip BAEPs were then examined as these components were proved to be the only stable responses present in sleep. It was found that threshold estimates to SOOHz, lOOOHz and 4000Hz stimuli could be made to within 15dBSL in most cases. A final study looked more closely at methods of obtaining frequency specific information in sleeping subjects. Threshold estimates were made using established BAEP parameters and this was compared to a 40HZ procedure which recorded a series of BAEPs over a 100msec. time sweep. Results indicated that the 40mHz procedure was superior to existing techniques in estimating threshold to low frequency stimuli. This research has confirmed a role for the MLR and 40Hz response as alternative measures of hearing capability in waking subjects and proposes that the 40Hz technique is useful in measuring frequency specific thresholds although the responses recorded derive primarily from the brainstcm.