Brain Topography

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 520–528 | Cite as

Masking the Auditory Evoked Potential in TMS–EEG: A Comparison of Various Methods

  • Esther M. ter Braack
  • Cecile C. de Vos
  • Michel J. A. M. van Putten
Original Paper


There is growing interest in combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with electroencephalography (EEG). Because TMS pulses are accompanied by a clicking sound, it is very likely that part of the response in the EEG consists of an auditory evoked potential (AEP). Different methods have been applied to mask the sound of TMS. However, it is unclear which masking method is most effective in reducing the AEP. In this study we explore the presumed contribution of the AEP to the response and evaluate different ways to mask the TMS clicking sound. Twelve healthy subjects and one completely deaf subject participated in this study. Eight different masking conditions were evaluated in nine hearing subjects. The amplitude of the N100–P180 complex was compared between the different masking conditions. We were not able to completely suppress the N100–P180 when the coil was placed on top of the head. Using an earmuff or exposing the subjects to white or adapted noise caused a small but significant reduction in N100–P180 amplitude, but the largest reduction was achieved when combining a layer of foam, placed between coil and head, with white or adapted noise. The deaf subject also showed a N100–P180 complex. We conclude that both the TMS clicking sound and cortical activation by the magnetic pulse contribute to the N100–P180 amplitude.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) Electroencephalography (EEG) Auditory evoked potential 



The authors wish to thank Benjamin de Jonge, MSc, for his assistance during the measurements. This study is financed by the Dutch PIDON Grant, in which Advanced Neuro Technology (Enschede, Netherlands) participates as an industrial partner.

Conflict of interest

E. ter Braack, C. de Vos and M. van Putten reported no financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther M. ter Braack
    • 1
  • Cecile C. de Vos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michel J. A. M. van Putten
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, MIRA—Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical MedicineUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyMedisch Spectrum TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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