This program facilitates the analysis of auditory evoked responses (tested with auditory brainstem responses and compound action potentials). You can visualize the waveform series collected during a single experiment, and identify the threshold and extract the amplitude and latency of each of the individual peaks in the waveform.

The default input/output format used by the program are designed to work with the in-house file format used by Eaton Peabody Laboratory. Refer to the file for documentation on how to adapt this program to your data format.

Loading Data

Data can be loaded by opening a file directly via the command line ("python CAP-139-5"), dragging and dropping the file from the operating system desktop, or selecting it via the file menu. Note that you may specify multiple files via any of these methods. When using the command line, wildcards should work (e.g. python c:\data\AEH\AEH350\ABR-*)

Program Options

Options are specified via the command line

Usage: [options] [filenames]

-h, --help show this help message and exit
--nofilter Do not filter waveform
 Lowpass cutoff (Hz), default 10,000 Hz
 Highpass cutoff (Hz), default 200 Hz
--order=ORDER Filter order, default 1st order
 Default directory for files
-i, --invert Invert waveform polarity when waveforms are loaded
--demo Load demo data

If you regularly use the program with a different set of default values, I recommend you create a shortcut or alias that contains these defaults. Under Windows, you can create a shortcut by right-clicking on the desktop (or an explorer window), selecting "New -> Shortcut" from the pop-up menu. You will get a dialog box asking to type the location of the item. Enter the following string:

python C:\programs\ABR\ --invert --directory c:\data

Where C:\programs\ABR\ and c:\data would be replaced with the appropriate path to the program and your data directory and the options list would be replaced with your preferred options.


On load each waveform is bandpass filtered using a butterworth filter (filter order and highpass and lowpass cutoffs are specified via command-line options). This filtering process removes the baseline shift as well as high-frequency noise that may interfere with the peak-finding algorithm. To prevent the waveform from being filtered, use the --nofilter option; however, be aware that this may degrade the efficacy of the automated peak. Important note: since the algorithm uses a forward and reverse filter (to minimize phase shift), the actual order is double the requested order.

An initial estimate of P1-5 is computed and presented for correction. You may navigate through the waveform stack via the up/down arrows and select a point via the corresponding number (1-5). Once a point is selected (it will turn to a white square), you can move it along the waveform using the right/left arrow keys. Since the algorithm relies on the location of P1-5 to compute the best possible estimate of N1-5, you should correct the location of P1-5 before asking the algorithm to estimate N1-5. You may also specify threshold by navigating to the appropriate waveform (via the up/down arrows) and hitting the "t" key.


The amplitude and latency of each point are saved along with the threshold of the series. If the point is part of a subthreshold waveform, the additive inverse of the latency is saved (i.e. when parsing the file, subthreshold data can be recognized by negative latencies). Amplitudes from subthreshold points can be used to estimate the noise floor if desired.

The interface

The current waveform is displayed as a thick, black line. Once a threshold is specified, subthreshold waveforms are indicated by a dashed line. The selected point is indicated by a white square. Negativities are indicated by triangles, positivities as squares. Red is P1/N1, yellow is P2/N2, green is P3/N3, light blue is P4/N4, and dark blue is P5/N5.

The following keybindings are used when analyzing a waveform series:

Up/Down arrows
Select previous/next waveform in the series
Right/Left arrows
Move a toggled peak left or right along the waveform. Movement of the peak will "snap" to estimated peaks in the waveform. To adjust the peak in fine increments, hold down the shift key simultaneously.
Number keys 1-5
Select the corresponding peak on the current waveform. To select N1-5, hold down shift while pressing the corresponding number.
Estimates N1-5 for all waveforms. If N1-5 is already estimated, recomputes the estimate.
Updates guess for corresponding P or N of successive waveforms based on position of currently toggled P or N.
Toggles normalized view of waveform.
+/- keys
Increases/decreases scaling factor of waveform.
Saves amplitude and latency of peaks.
Set threshold to current waveform.

Some keys will repeat if you hold down the key, which may be useful when navigating through the waveforms or adjusting the location of a peak.

Code Dependencies

wxPython, numpy, scipy, matplotlib

The simplest way to satisfy these dependencies is to install Python(x,y) or the Enthought Python Distribution.

The Algorithm

See the documentation on find_np in for an overview of how the algorithm works.