Induced Loudness Reduction and Enhancement in Acoustic and Electric Hearing

  • Ningyuan Wang
  • Heather Kreft
  • Andrew J. Oxenham
Research Article


The loudness of a tone can be reduced by preceding it with a more intense tone. This effect, known as induced loudness reduction (ILR), has been reported to last for several seconds. The underlying neural mechanisms are unknown. One possible contributor to the effect involves changes in cochlear gain via the medial olivocochlear (MOC) efferents. Since cochlear implants (CIs) bypass the cochlea, investigating whether and how CI users experience ILR should help provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. In the present study, ILR was examined in both normal-hearing listeners and CI users by examining the effects of an intense precursor (50 or 500 ms) on the loudness of a 50-ms target, as judged by comparing it to a spectrally remote 50-ms comparison sound. The interstimulus interval (ISI) between the precursor and the target was varied between 10 and 1000 ms to estimate the time course of ILR. In general, the patterns of results from the CI users were similar to those found in the normal-hearing listeners. However, in the short-precursor short-ISI condition, an enhancement in the loudness of target was observed in CI subjects that was not present in the normal-hearing listeners, consistent with the effects of an additional attenuation present in the normal-hearing listeners but not in the CI users. The results suggest that the MOC may play a role but that it is not the only source of these loudness context effects.


auditory context effects loudness loudness recalibration cochlear implants 



This work was supported in part by NIH grant R01 DC012262. Author NW was supported by Advanced Bionics and by a Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.


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Copyright information

© Association for Research in Otolaryngology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ningyuan Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Heather Kreft
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Oxenham
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Nurotron Biotechnology Co., LtdHangzhouChina

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