National Acoustic Laboratories Library
Papesh, Melissa A.

Background noise can enhance cortical auditory evoked potentials under certain conditions

Objective: To use cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) to understand neural encoding in background
noise and the conditions under which noise enhances CAEP responses.
Methods: CAEPs from 16 normal-hearing listeners were recorded using the speech syllable/ba/presented
in quiet and speech-shaped noise at signal-to-noise ratios of 10 and 30 dB. The syllable was presented
binaurally and monaurally at two presentation rates.
Results: The amplitudes of N1 and N2 peaks were often significantly enhanced in the presence of lowlevel
background noise relative to quiet conditions, while P1 and P2 amplitudes were consistently
reduced in noise. P1 and P2 amplitudes were significantly larger during binaural compared to monaural
presentations, while N1 and N2 peaks were similar between binaural and monaural conditions.
Conclusions: Methodological choices impact CAEP peaks in very different ways. Negative peaks can be
enhanced by background noise in certain conditions, while positive peaks are generally enhanced by binaural
Significance: Methodological choices significantly impact CAEPs acquired in quiet and in noise. If CAEPs
are to be used as a tool to explore signal encoding in noise, scientists must be cognizant of how
differences in acquisition and processing protocols selectively shape CAEP responses.
Published by Elsevier Ltd. on behalf of International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology.

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