Cortical encoding of signals in noise: Effects of stimulus type and recording paradigm

Curtis J. Billings, Keri O. Bennett, Michelle R. Molis, Marjorie R. Leek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Perception-in-noise deficits have been demonstrated across many populations and listening conditions. Many factors contribute to successful perception of auditory stimuli in noise, including neural encoding in the central auditory system. Physiological measures such as cortical auditory-evoked potentials (CAEPs) can provide a view of neural encoding at the level of the cortex that may inform our understanding of listeners' abilities to perceive signals in the presence of background noise. To understand signal-in-noise neural encoding better, we set out to determine the effect of signal type, noise type, and evoking paradigm on the P1-N1-P2 complex. DESIGN: Tones and speech stimuli were presented to nine individuals in quiet and in three background noise types: continuous speech spectrum noise, interrupted speech spectrum noise, and four-talker babble at a signal-to-noise ratio of -3 dB. In separate sessions, CAEPs were evoked by a passive homogenous paradigm (single repeating stimulus) and an active oddball paradigm. RESULTS: The results for the N1 component indicated significant effects of signal type, noise type, and evoking paradigm. Although components P1 and P2 also had significant main effects of these variables, only P2 demonstrated significant interactions among these variables. CONCLUSIONS: Signal type, noise type, and evoking paradigm all must be carefully considered when interpreting signal-in-noise evoked potentials. Furthermore, these data confirm the possible usefulness of CAEPs as an aid to understand perception-in-noise deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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