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J Audiol Otol. 2018 Jan;22(1):39-44. English. Original Article.
Parisa A , Reza NA , Jalal SS , Mohammad K , Homa ZK .
Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Audiology,School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Basic Sciences in Rehabilitation, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background and Objectives

The ability to localize a sound source is one of the binaural hearing benefits in a horizontal plane based on interaural time difference and interaural intensity difference. Unilateral or bilateral asymmetric hearing loss will affect binaural hearing and lead to sound locating errors. In this cross sectional analytical descriptive study, the localization error was investigated when participants turned their heads to the sound source with closed eyes and after simulating unilateral hearing loss by placing earplugs inside the right ear canal.

Subjects and Methods

This cross sectional analytical descriptive study was carried out on 30 right-handed adults, 22 female and 8 male (average: 25 years, standard deviation: 3.16). They were selected with the available random access method. Horizontal localization was evaluated with five speakers located at 0, ±30, and ±60 degree azimuths at a 1-meter distance from the examinee. Narrow-band noise signals were delivered at 35 dB SL in two “without earplug” and “with earplug” situations and the results were compared. The study was performed between September and December 2016 in Tehran, Iran.


Significant differences were observed in localization errors between the “with earplug” and “without earplug” situations. The localization differences were greater for left-side speakers (-30 and -60 degrees) compared with right-side speakers (+30 and +60 degrees). The differences were more apparent at 4,000 and 6,000 Hz, which confirmed the effect of unilateral simulated hearing loss on interaural latency differences.


Simulating hearing loss by using an earplug in one ear (right) increased localization errors at all frequencies. The errors increased at higher frequencies.

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