Effects of acoustic trauma on the representation of the vowel /ε/ in cat auditory nerve fibers

Roger L. Miller, John R. Schilling, Kevin R. Franck, Eric D. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


A population study of cat auditory-nerve fibers was used to characterize the permanent deficits induced by exposure to 110-115 dB SPL, narrow-band noise. Fibers in the region of acoustic trauma (roughly 1-6 kHz) showed a loss of sensitivity at best frequency (BF) of about 50-60 dB and an increased tuning bandwidth. A correlation between weakened two-tone suppression and loss of sensitivity was found for fibers with BFs above 1 kHz. Single-fiber responses to the vowel /ε/ were recorded at intensities ranging from near threshold to a maximum of about 110 dB SPL. In normal cochleas, the temporal response patterns show a capture phenomenon, in which the first two formant frequencies dominate the responses at high sound levels among fibers with BFs near the formant frequencies. After acoustic trauma, fibers in the region of threshold shift synchronized to a broad range of the vowel's harmonics and thus did not show capture by the second formant at any sound level used. The broadband nature of this response is consistent with the broadened tuning observed in the damaged fibers, but may also reflect a weakening of compressive nonlinearities responsible for synchrony capture in the normal cochlea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3602-3616
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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