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The goal of this study was to determine the importance of including ascending and descending responses when using a modified Hughson-Westlake procedure for testing hearing. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has used an ascending plus descending response procedure in the past. It is important to know if NHANES can change to a ascending only procedure without having to adjust the data previously collected. Differences were determined between using ascending plus descending responses versus using ascending only responses. In order to answer the main study objective, four research questions were studied, which were "did the inclusion of descending responses result in: a significant impact on the center point of the psychometric function, an important shift in the center point of the psychometric function, a significant impact on the width of the psychometric function, or an important shift in the width of the psychometric function?" Audiometric data were collected for 49 participants, who were tested 8 times at each of three visits, using three different stimuli. Thresholds were calculated using two methods: ascending plus descending responses and ascending only. Data analysis showed that the inclusion of the descending responses had a significant but unimportant change on the center point of the psychometric function. Additionally, the inclusion of the descending responses resulted in a significant, but again unimportant change in the width of the psychometric function. A correlation was found between the bandwidth of the stimulus and the impact that the descending responses had on the width. This study implies that the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey will not have to adjust their data if they change their audiometric testing to an ascending only procedure.
McGregor, Kara, "Reliability of Pure Tone Thresholds" (2014). Honors Theses. 2440.