The development of cochlear nerve action potential thresholds at different frequencies (AP audiograms) and inferior colliculus (IC) single unit thresholds and tuning was examined in barbiturate-anaesthetized kittens. AP thresholds decreased over the whole frequency spectrum during the first 5 weeks of life. Threshold to high-frequency stimulation remained higher in 7-week-old animals than in adults. These results are in contrast to previous reports which have suggested that the AP response and gross cochlear anatomy are mature by the end of the second week. These differences may be due to the fact that the AP audiogram technique provides a measure of the activity of discrete regions along the cochlear partition. IC units in animals younger than 3.5 weeks had significantly elevated thresholds and broader tuning than those of the adult cat. Comparison of AP audiogram and IC unit thresholds in the adult revealed that these indices show similar frequency-dependent sensitivity. The slower maturation revealed by the AP audiogram may be due to the greater number and/or synchrony of cochlear nerve discharges needed to produce the gross AP. If this were the case, perception of suprathreshold sounds might not develop as quickly as thresholds for sound detection.