A Bayesian binary classification approach to pure tone audiometry


The pure tone hearing threshold is usually estimated from responses to stimuli at a set of standard frequencies. This paper describes a probabilistic approach to the estimation problem in which the hearing threshold is modelled as a smooth continuous function of frequency using a Gaussian process. This allows sampling at any frequency and reduces the number of required measurements. The Gaussian process is combined with a probabilistic response model to account for uncertainty in the responses. The resulting full model can be interpreted as a two-dimensional binary classifier for stimuli, and provides uncertainty bands on the estimated threshold curve. The optimal next stimulus is determined based on an information theoretic criterion. This leads to a robust adaptive estimation method that can be applied to fully automate the hearing threshold estimation process.