The amplitude-modulation following response (AMFR) is a steady-state auditory response which may be an objective measure of intensity discrimination. Aged subjects with normal hearing have poorer intensity discrimination for low-frequency tones measured behaviorally, which would predict poorer AMFRs for low-frequency carriers. Experiment 1 was designed to assess age-related differences in AMFR characteristics. Response amplitudes were not significantly different among the young and aged groups for either carrier frequency (520 or 4000 Hz) or modulation depth (0-100%). Response phase did not vary systematically among groups. These results suggest that the AMFR may not be directly comparable to behavioral measures of intensity discrimination in aged subjects with normal hearing. To assess the contribution of high-frequency hearing loss on the AMFR in aged subjects, Experiment 2 compared AMFR amplitudes in aged subjects and in young subjects under the condition of high-pass masking. The amplitude of the AMFR was reduced at 520 Hz for both aged subjects and masked young subjects compared to unmasked young subjects, suggesting that reduced amplitudes in aged subjects with high-frequency hearing loss were associated with threshold elevations. Furthermore, the results suggest that the base of the cochlea contributes to the AMFR for low carrier frequencies. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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