Tone in Noise Detection in Children with a History of Temporary Conductive Hearing Loss

Margo McKenna Benoit, Kenneth S. Henry, Mark Orlando, Stephanie Wong, Paul Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Children with a history of temporary conductive hearing loss (CHL) during early development may show long-term impairments in auditory processes that persist after restoration of normal audiometric hearing thresholds. Tones in noise provide a simplified paradigm for studying hearing in noise. Prior research has shown that adults with sensorineural hearing loss may alter their listening strategy to use single-channel energy cues for tone-in-noise (TIN) detection rather than rove-resistant envelope or spectral profile cues. Our objective was to determine the effect of early CHL on TIN detection in healthy children compared to controls. Children ages 4–7 years, with and without a history of CHL due to otitis media with effusion (OME) before age 3 years, participated in a two-alternative forced choice TIN detection task. Audiometric thresholds were normal at the time of testing. Thresholds for detection of a 1000 Hz tone were measured in fixed-level noise and in roving-level noise that made single-channel energy cues unreliable. Participants included 23 controls and 23 with a history of OME-related CHL. TIN thresholds decreased with increasing age across participants. Children in both groups showed similar TIN sensitivity and little or no threshold elevation in the roving-level condition compared to fixed-level tracks, consistent with use of rove-resistant cues. In contrast to older listeners with sensorineural hearing loss, there was no detectable change in TIN sensitivity with roving level for children with a history of OME-related CHL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-758
Number of pages8
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Envelope processing
  • Neurodevelopmental audiometrics
  • Otitis media with effusion
  • Pediatric hearing loss


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