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In this review article, we focus on recent studies of experiential influences on brainstem function. Using these studies as scaffolding, we then lay the initial groundwork for the Layering Hypothesis, which explicates how experiences combine to shape subcortical auditory function. Our hypothesis builds on the idea that the subcortical auditory system reflects the collective auditory experiences of an individual, including interactions with sound that occurred in the distant past. Our goal fordoi:10.1016/j.heares.2014.01.002 pmid:24445149 fatcat:g3kcwvo4bjdghbpmxm6thh3mpq