Relationship between the auditory brainstem response and auditory nerve thresholds in cats with hearing loss

Elizabeth M. Ngan, Bradford J. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between the auditory brainstem response (ABR) and auditory nerve sensitivity in cats with normal hearing and with noise-induced permanent threshold shifts. A statistically significant linear correlation was found between each cat's ABR thresholds and the most sensitive single neuron thresholds at the same frequency. ABR thresholds were approximately 25 dB higher than the thresholds of the most sensitive neural responses in cats with normal hearing. The two measures produced equivalent thresholds at impaired frequencies in subjects with sensorineural hearing loss. Two factors may have contributed to this convergence of ABR and neural thresholds. First, our results suggest that the elevation of the most sensitive neural responses led to a compressed threshold distribution. Consequently, only a narrow range of sound levels separated stimulus conditions that activated relatively few fibers from those that were sufficient to evoke a robust population response. In addition, the threshold responses of impaired auditory nerve fibers may have been augmented by activity in the more sensitive 'off-frequency' regions that surrounded a discrete cochlear lesion. Across varying degrees of hearing loss, the ABR maintained a systematic relationship to auditory nerve fiber thresholds, and therefore has the potential to be used as a functional assay of cochlear pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Volume156
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001

Keywords

  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Auditory nerve fiber
  • Off-frequency listening
  • Sensorineural hearing loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems

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