A half-century's perspective on Békésy tracking and loudness growth at threshold

  • Elizabeth Rooney
  • Mary Florentine


In the more than half a century since Georg von Békésy was awarded the Nobel Prize, many of his findings have stood the test of time. Implications of the width of the excursions in the Békésy tracking procedure, however, are not as simple as described in his classic book, Experiments in Hearing (von Békésy, 1960). The interpretations of his findings have created some misunderstandings in hearing science and audiology. This article reviews a large body of data on Békésy tracking and more recent threshold, discrimination, and loudness data in order to answer the following question: Is the width of the excursions a reliable indicator of cochlear pathology?

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