An in vivo investigation of inferior colliculus single neuron responses to cochlear nucleus pulse train stimulation Academic Article uri icon


  • The auditory brain stem implant (ABI) is being used clinically to restore hearing to patients unable to benefit from a cochlear implant (CI). Speech perception outcomes for ABI users are typically poor compared with most CI users. The ABI is implanted either on the surface of or penetrating through the cochlear nucleus in the auditory brain stem and uses stimulation strategies developed for auditory nerve stimulation with a CI. Although the stimulus rate may affect speech perception outcomes with current stimulation strategies, no studies have systematically investigated the effect of stimulus rate electrophysiologically or clinically. We therefore investigated rate response properties and temporal response properties of single inferior colliculus (IC) neurons from penetrating ABI stimulation using stimulus rates ranging from 100 to 1,600 pulses/s in the rat. We found that the stimulus rate affected the proportion of response types, thresholds, and dynamic ranges of IC activation. The stimulus rate was also found to affect the temporal properties of IC responses, with higher rates providing more temporally similar responses to acoustic stimulation. Suppression of neural firing and inhibition in IC neurons was also found, with response properties varying with the stimulus rate. This study demonstrated that changes in the ABI stimulus rate results in significant differences in IC neuron response properties. Due to electrophysiological differences, the stimulus rate may also change perceptual properties. We suggest that clinical evaluation of the ABI stimulus rate should be performed.

publication date

  • December 1, 2012