First Advisor

James Maurer

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Sensitivity prediction by the acoustic reflex, Audiometry, Older people



Physical Description

1 online resource (91 p.)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the SPAR test (Sensitivity Prediction by the Acoustic Reflex) on a sample of older adults who professed negative otologic histories. Twenty-seven subjects, ranging in age from sixty-four to eighty-three years of age (54 ears) were ultimately chosen as subjects. A young adult group, ranging in age from eighteen to thirty years of age, with normal audiometric hearing levels served as controls. Reflex threshold levels were obtained using 500 Hz., 1000 Hz., and 2000 Hz. pure tones and noise stimuli. Assessment of hearing loss was calculated on the difference between measures to ascertain hearing loss category and slope of loss according to a formula developed by Jerger (1974).

The following conclusions were made on the basis of data collected in this investigation:

  1. The SPAR test was significant in assessing hearing sensitivity levels among the sample of geriatric subjects.
  2. The SPAR test was not statistically significant in assessing slope of loss in this sample of geriatric subjects.
  3. Reflex thresholds were consistently higher for aging than for a sample of young adults with normal hearing. This was true even among elderly subjects with average pure tone thresholds in the normal range.
  4. A significant portion of this carefully screened older adult sample displayed abnormal middle-ear function (as measured by tympanometry) in the absence of conventional audiometric indications of this.
  5. A significant portion of this older adult sample provided audiometric evidence of middle-ear pathology.


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