Input-output curves of low and high spontaneous rate auditory nerve fibers are exponential near threshold

J. Wiebe Horst, Jo Ann McGee, Edward J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Input-output (IO) properties of cochlear transduction are frequently determined by analyzing the average discharge rates of auditory nerve fibers (ANFs) in response to relatively long tonal stimulation. The ANFs in cats have spontaneous discharge rates (SRs) that are bimodally distributed, peaking at low (<0.5 spikes/s) and high (∼60 spikes/s) rates, and rate-level characteristics differ depending upon SR. In an effort to assess the instantaneous IO properties of ANFs having different SRs, static IO-curves were constructed from period histograms based on phase-locking of spikes to the stimulus waveform. These curves provide information unavailable in conventional average rate-level curves. We find that all IO curves follow an exponential trajectory. It is argued that the exponential behavior represents the transduction in the IHC and that the difference among ANFs having different SRs is predominantly a difference in gain attributed most likely to synaptic drive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Auditory nerve fibers
  • Cochlea
  • Input-output relation
  • Instantaneous discharge rate
  • Period histograms
  • Spontaneous discharge rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems

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