Effects of tubing length and coupling method on hearing threshold and real-ear to coupler difference measures

Samantha Gustafson, Andrea Pittman, Robert Fanning

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Scopus citations


    Purpose: This tutorial demonstrates the effects of tubing length and coupling type (i.e., foam tip or personal earmold) on hearing threshold and real-ear-to-coupler difference (RECD) measures. Method: Hearing thresholds from 0.25 kHz through 8 kHz are reported at various tubing lengths for 28 normal-hearing adults between the ages of 22 and 31 years. RECD values are reported for 14 of the adults. All measures were made with an insert earphone coupled to a standard foam tip and with an insert earphone coupled to each participant's personal earmold. Results: Threshold and RECD measures obtained with a personal earmold were significantly different from those obtained with a foam tip on repeated measures analyses of variance. One-sample t tests showed these differences to vary systematically with increasing tubing length, with the largest average differences (7-8 dB) occurring at 4 kHz. Conclusions: This systematic examination demonstrates the equal and opposite effects of tubing length on threshold and acoustic measures. Specifically, as tubing length increased, sound pressure level in the ear canal decreased, affecting both hearing thresholds and the real-ear portion of the RECDs. This demonstration shows that when the same coupling method is used to obtain the hearing thresholds and RECD, equal and accurate estimates of real-ear sound pressure level are obtained.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)190-199
    Number of pages10
    JournalAmerican journal of audiology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jun 2013


    • Audiometry
    • Earmolds
    • Real-ear measures

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Speech and Hearing


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