Distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) data were obtained with a custom‐designed system from 20 subjects with normal hearing. Cavity measurements, using this system and an Etymotic ER‐10B low−noise microphone system, resulted in estimates of recording system distortion of −20 dB SPL for f2 frequencies ranging from 500 to 8000 Hz, and primary levels ranging from 20 to 75 dB SPL (L2=L1−10 dB). Using this system it was possible to automatically adjust averaging time in order to obtain the same residual noise levels across frequencies. In all subjects with normal hearing, DPOAEs were measurable over a wide range of primary levels for octave f2 frequencies from 1000 to 8000 Hz, but not at 500 Hz. At 500 Hz, only half of the normal−hearing subjects produced DPOAEs that were above the noise floor. When they did, DPOAE amplitude was less than that observed at higher f2 frequencies. While the cause for response absence in some normal ears may have been due to residual noise, the reduced amplitude suggests that the other factors influence the measurement of DPOAEs at low frequencies. This result may be due to reduced cochlear production of DPOAEs at lower frequencies or reduced transmission through the middle ear.

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