Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) elicited by high-amplitude [100 dB re 20 μPa, peak-to-peak equivalent sound pressure level (peSPL)] aerial broadband clicks were collected from seven California sea lions in order to provide a basic description of short-latency auditory evoked potentials in this species. The waveform of the ABR was similar to that of other mammals, comprising seven positive and six negative characteristic waves. Variability in the amplitudes and latencies of waves was higher among subjects than the variability in within-subject repeated measurements. ABRs to progressively attenuated clicks were collected for three additional sea lions. Wave amplitudes decreased and latencies increased with decreasing stimulus level, with only the sixth positive wave visible near threshold (35–40 dB peSPL). Based on observations of wave latency as a function of stimulus amplitude, the sixth positive wave of the ABR is equivalent to the clinically important “wave V” identified in studies with humans. The current results provide information on the basic electrophysiology of the pinniped auditory system, including the processes that underlie brainstem auditory steady-state responses used to measure frequency-specific hearing sensitivity.

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