Masking Level Difference (MLD) tests are an established component of auditory processing test batteries; however, normative data for these tests vary according to procedure. In this study, forty normal, native-English speaking adults between the ages of 18 and 26 were tested for MLD via a newly developed computer software program using both an adaptive procedure (MLDA) and a Bekesy procedure (MLDB). The results from the two procedures were analyzed for sex differences and compared with each other. For both the MLDA and MLDB, the results showed statistically significant sex differences in the masked thresholds used to obtain the MLD (NoSo and NoSπ), but no significant difference in the calculated MLD value (NoSo - NoSπ). These results suggest that since the MLD was similar for both sexes, the normative data need not be reported separately by sex. The results also showed statistically significant differences between procedures, with the MLDA procedure producing higher MLDs than the MLDB procedure. The MLDA procedure lent itself to a d´ analysis, which could not be determined using MLDB due to the nature of a Bekesy assessment. For MLDA, d´ = 1.4, test sensitivity = 96.4%, and test specificity = 60.3%. The results of this study indicate that MLDA is a better testing procedure due to MLDA's higher MLD average and the statistical data available (d´, and measures of sensitivity and specificity) when using the MLDA procedure.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





Masking level difference, MLD, adaptive, auditory processing disorders, masked thresholds, Bekesy