The notched noise method is an effective procedure for measuring frequency resolution and auditory filter shapes in both human and animal models of hearing. Briefly, auditory filter shape and bandwidth estimates are derived from masked thresholds for tones presented in noise containing widening spectral notches. As the spectral notch widens, increasingly less of the noise falls within the auditory filter and the tone becomes more detectible until the notch width exceeds the filter bandwidth. Behavioral procedures have been used for the derivation of notched noise auditory filter shapes in mice; however, the time and effort needed to train and test animals on these tasks renders a constraint on the widespread application of this testing method. As an alternative procedure, we combined relatively non-invasive auditory brainstem response (ABR) measurements and the notched noise method to estimate auditory filters in normal-hearing mice at center frequencies of 8, 11.2, and 16 kHz. A complete set of simultaneous masked thresholds for a particular tone frequency were obtained in about an hour. ABR-derived filter bandwidths broadened with increasing frequency, consistent with previous studies. The ABR notched noise procedure provides a fast alternative to estimating frequency selectivity in mice that is well-suited to high through-put or time-sensitive screening.
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