Human auditory steady-state responses

Int J Audiol. 2003 Jun;42(4):177-219. doi: 10.3109/14992020309101316.


Steady-state evoked potentials can be recorded from the human scalp in response to auditory stimuli presented at rates between 1 and 200 Hz or by periodic modulations of the amplitude and/or frequency of a continuous tone. Responses can be objectively detected using frequency-based analyses. In waking subjects, the responses are particularly prominent at rates near 40 Hz. Responses evoked by more rapidly presented stimuli are less affected by changes in arousal and can be evoked by multiple simultaneous stimuli without significant loss of amplitude. Response amplitude increases as the depth of modulation or the intensity increases. The phase delay of the response increases as the intensity or the carrier frequency decreases. Auditory steady-state responses are generated throughout the auditory nervous system, with cortical regions contributing more than brainstem generators to responses at lower modulation frequencies. These responses are useful for objectively evaluating auditory thresholds, assessing suprathreshold hearing, and monitoring the state of arousal during anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Anesthesia
  • Audiometry / methods
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Noise