Volume 115, Issue 3, March 2004
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
The representation of periodic sounds in simulated sustained chopper units of the ventral cochlear nucleus115(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1643359View Description Hide Description
The nature of the neural processing underlying the extraction of pitchinformation from harmonic complex sounds is still unclear. Electrophysiological studies in the auditory nerve and many psychophysical and modeling studies suggest that pitch might be extracted successfully by applying a mechanism like autocorrelation to the temporal discharge patterns of auditory-nerve fibers. The current modeling study investigates the possible role of populations of sustained chopper (Chop-S) units located in the mammalian ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) in this process. First, it is shown that computer simulations can predict responses to periodic and quasiperiodic sounds of individual Chop-S units recorded in the guinea-pig VCN. Second, it is shown that the fundamental period of a periodic or quasiperiodic sound is represented in the first-order, interspike interval statistics of a population of simulated Chop-S units. This is true across a wide range of characteristic frequencies when the chopping rate is equal to the of the sound. The model was able to simulate the results of psychophysical studies involving the pitch height and pitch strength of iterated ripple noise, the dominance region of pitch, the effect of phase on pitch height and pitch strength, pitch of inharmonic stimuli, and of sinusoidally amplitude modulated noise. Simulation results indicate that changes in the interspike interval statistics of populations of Chop-S units compare well with changes in the pitch perceived by humans. It is proposed that Chop-S units in the ventral cochlear nucleus may play an important role in pitch extraction: They can convert a purely temporal pitch code as observed in the auditory nerve into a temporal place code of pitch in populations of cochlear-nucleus, Chop-S with different characteristic frequencies, and chopping rates. Thus, populations of cochlear-nucleus Chop-S units, together with their target units presumably located in the inferior colliculus, may serve to establish a stable rate-place code of pitch at the level of the auditory cortex.
115(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1647479View Description Hide Description
Distortion generated by the cochlea can provide a valuable indicator of its functional state. In the present study, the dependence of distortion on the operating point of the cochlear transducer and its relevance to endolymph volume disturbances has been investigated. Calculations have suggested that as the operating point moves away from zero, second harmonic distortion would increase. Cochlear microphonic waveforms were analyzed to derive the cochlear transducer operating point and to quantify harmonic distortions. Changes in operating point and distortion were measured during endolymph manipulations that included 200-Hz tone exposures at 115-dB SPL, injections of artificial endolymph into scala media at 80, 200, or 400 nl/min, and treatment with furosemide given intravenously or locally into the cochlea. Results were compared with other functional changes that included action potential thresholds at 2.8 or 8 kHz, summating potential, endocochlear potential, and the and acoustic emissions. The results demonstrated that volume disturbances caused changes in the operating point that resulted in predictable changes in distortion. Understanding the factors influencing operating point is important in the interpretation of distortion measurements and may lead to tests that can detect abnormal endolymph volume states.
115(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1645611View Description Hide Description
Intracochlear pressure was measured close to the basal basilar membrane in gerbil with pure-tone stimulation. This report describes harmonic distortion in the pressure. The harmonic components were tuned in frequency and physiologically vulnerable, implying that they were related to the cell-derived force that sharpens tuning at low levels in healthy cochleae. For stimulus frequencies in the vicinity of the best frequency the harmonic distortion appeared to be produced locally, at the place of measurement. Therefore, it could be explored with a local nonlinear model. The combined model and observations demonstrate two specific points: First, the harmonics in the cell-based force were likely similar in size to the harmonics in pressure (multiplied by area) close to the basilar membrane. This is distinctly different than the situation for the fundamental component, where the cell-based force is apparently much smaller than the pressure (times area). Second, although the fundamental component of the measuredpressure was much larger than its harmonic components, the harmonic and fundamental components of the active force were likely much more similar in size. This allows the harmonic components in the pressure to be used as an indirect measure of the active force.
115(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1639327View Description Hide Description
Continuous loop averaging deconvolution (CLAD) is a new general mathematical theory and method developed to deconvolve overlapping auditory evoked responses obtained at high stimulation rates. Using CLAD, arbitrary stimulus sequences are generated and averaged responses deconvolved. Until now, only a few special stimulus series such as maximum length sequences (MLS) and Legendre sequences (LGS) were capable of performing this task. A CLAD computer algorithm is developed and implemented in an evoked potential averaging system. Computer simulations are used to verify the theory and methodology. Auditory brainstem responses (ABR) and middle latency responses (MLR) are acquired from subjects with normal hearing at high stimulation rates to validate and show the feasibility of the CLAD technique.