Temporal response properties of the auditory nerve: Data from human cochlear-implant recipients

Michelle L. Hughes, Erin E. Castioni, Jenny L. Goehring, Jacquelyn L. Baudhuin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Scopus citations


    The primary goal of this study was to characterize the variability in auditory-nerve temporal response patterns obtained with the electrically evoked compound action potential (ECAP) within and across a relatively large group of cochlear-implant recipients. ECAPs were recorded in response to each of 21 pulses in a pulse train for five rates (900, 1200, 1800, 2400, and 3500. pps) and three cochlear regions (basal, middle, and apical). An alternating amplitude pattern was typically observed across the pulse train for slower rates, reflecting refractory properties of individual nerve fibers. For faster rates, the alternation ceased and overall amplitudes were substantially lower relative to the first pulse in the train, reflecting cross-fiber desynchronization. The following specific parameters were examined: (1) the rate at which the alternating pattern ceased (termed stochastic rate), (2) the alternation depth and the rate at which the maximum alternation occurred, and (3) the average normalized ECAP amplitude across the pulse train (measure of overall adaptation/desynchronization). Data from 29 ears showed that stochastic rates for the group spanned the entire range of rates tested. The majority of subjects (79%) had different stochastic rates across the three cochlear regions. The stochastic rate occurred most frequently at 2400. pps for basal and middle electrodes, and at 3500. pps for apical electrodes. Stimulus level was significantly correlated with stochastic rate, where higher levels yielded faster stochastic rates. The maximum alternation depth averaged 19% of the amplitude for the first pulse. Maximum alternation occurred most often at 1800. pps for basal and apical electrodes, and at 1200. pps for middle electrodes. These differences suggest some independence between alternation depth and stochastic rate. Finally, the overall amount of adaptation or desynchronization ranged from 63% (for 900. pps) to 23% (for 3500. pps) of the amplitude for the first pulse. Differences in temporal response properties across the cochlea within subjects may have implications for developing new speech-processing strategies that employ varied rates across the array.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)46-57
    Number of pages12
    JournalHearing Research
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Mar 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sensory Systems


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