Speech-evoked brainstem responses in Arabic and Hebrew speakers

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Based on studies in English speakers, it has been proposed that speech-evoked brainstem responses (ABRs) may be used clinically to assess central auditory function. Whether the same procedure can be used across speakers of different languages remains unclear, because recent findings suggest that language experience affects even subcortical processing of speech. The goal of the present study was to characterize brainstem responses to the syllable /da/ in Arabic and Hebrew speakers using the US developed BioMARK procedure. To that end, ABRs evoked by clicks and the syllable /da/ were collected from 37 normal-hearing students from the University of Haifa. Neither the transient nor the sustained components of the brainstem response differed significantly between Arabic and Hebrew speakers. Across the two groups, timing of the major components of the speech-evoked response as well as the correlations between the speech- and click indices were well within the US norms. Therefore, brainstem processing of the syllable /da/ does not differ between speakers of English and speakers of Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-849
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the study participants. Special thanks to Nina Kraus for providing us with the United States BioMARK norms for this age group. This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (LHSI 1842/07 to K.B.). Parts of this work have been presented at the annual meeting of the Israeli Society of Auditory Research, Tel-Aviv, October 13, 2009.


  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • Entral auditory processing
  • Speech ABR
  • Speech-sound encoding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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