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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 604729, 10 pages
Review Article

The Potential Role of the cABR in Assessment and Management of Hearing Impairment

Samira Anderson1,2,3 and Nina Kraus1,2,4,5

1Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
2Department of Communication Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
3Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, 0100 Lefrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4Department of Neurobiology and Physiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
5Department of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA

Received 15 June 2012; Accepted 31 October 2012

Academic Editor: Kelly Tremblay

Copyright © 2013 Samira Anderson and Nina Kraus. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hearing aid technology has improved dramatically in the last decade, especially in the ability to adaptively respond to dynamic aspects of background noise. Despite these advancements, however, hearing aid users continue to report difficulty hearing in background noise and having trouble adjusting to amplified sound quality. These difficulties may arise in part from current approaches to hearing aid fittings, which largely focus on increased audibility and management of environmental noise. These approaches do not take into account the fact that sound is processed all along the auditory system from the cochlea to the auditory cortex. Older adults represent the largest group of hearing aid wearers; yet older adults are known to have deficits in temporal resolution in the central auditory system. Here we review evidence that supports the use of the auditory brainstem response to complex sounds (cABR) in the assessment of hearing-in-noise difficulties and auditory training efficacy in older adults.