Auditory Electrophysiological and Perceptual Measures in Student Musicians with High Sound Exposure

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This study aimed to determine (a) the influence of noise exposure background (NEB) on the peripheral and central auditory system functioning and (b) the influence of NEB on speech recognition in noise abilities in student musicians. Twenty non-musician students with self-reported low NEB and 18 student musicians with self-reported high NEB completed a battery of tests that consisted of physiological measures, including auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) at three different stimulus rates (11.3 Hz, 51.3 Hz, and 81.3 Hz), and P300, and behavioral measures including conventional and extended high-frequency audiometry, consonant–vowel nucleus–consonant (CNC) word test and AzBio sentence test for assessing speech perception in noise abilities at −9, −6, −3, 0, and +3 dB signal to noise ratios (SNRs). The NEB was negatively associated with performance on the CNC test at all five SNRs. A negative association was found between NEB and performance on the AzBio test at 0 dB SNR. No effect of NEB was found on the amplitude and latency of P300 and the ABR wave I amplitude. More investigations of larger datasets with different NEB and longitudinal measurements are needed to investigate the influence of NEB on word recognition in noise and to understand the specific cognitive processes contributing to the impact of NEB on word recognition in noise.