Discomfort threshold

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Discomfort threshold audiogram (US test) : group data from patients with hyperacusis but without hearing loss. Upper line: average hearing thresholds. Lower long line: US of this group. Lower short line: US of a comparison group with normal hearing.

The discomfort threshold or discomfort limit , abbreviated US , UG ( uncomfortable level , UCL , or loudness discomfort level , LDL ), is a technical term from audiology and describes the sound pressure (usually given as the weighted sound pressure level ) of an acoustic signal from which hearing is perceived as uncomfortably loud . It is part of the measurement of a complete tone audiogram .

The level values ​​depend in each case on the individual sensation, they are usually around 90 to 110 dB HL for people with normal hearing and are also dependent on the frequencies . The level values ​​are around 20 dB below the pain threshold . If the discomfort threshold is also measured when measuring a tone audiogram, this is usually done for fewer frequencies than for the hearing threshold . The reproducibility is therefore worse than when determining the hearing threshold.

A range of the most comfortable loudness (MCR, most comfortable range , or MCL, most comfortable level ) can be defined between the hearing threshold and the discomfort threshold .

In the presence of a hearing impairment , the discomfort threshold does not have to be shifted to the same extent as the hearing threshold to a higher volume. There may therefore be a restricted dynamic range compared to normal hearing . This is the case with recruitment and hyperacusis . The discomfort threshold can even be lower here. The audiometric determination of the discomfort threshold is therefore important for the medical diagnosis of the hearing (especially if hydrops cochleae , Menière's disease and hyperacusis are suspected ) and for hearing aid fitting .

Individual evidence

  1. J. Sheldrake, PU Diehl, R. Schaette: Audiometric characteristics of hyperacusis patients. In: Frontiers in neurology. Volume 6, 2015, p. 105, doi : 10.3389 / fneur.2015.00105 , PMID 26029161 , PMC 4432660 (free full text).