Phase-locking of auditory-nerve discharges to sinusoidal electric stimulation of the cochlea

Hear Res. 1992 Feb;58(1):79-90. doi: 10.1016/0378-5955(92)90011-b.


The activity of auditory-nerve fibers was recorded in anesthetized cats in response to sinusoidal electric stimuli applied through a bipolar electrode pair inserted about 5 mm into the cochlea through the round window. The synchronization index was calculated from period histograms for frequencies ranging from 0.2 to over 10 kHz. The stimulus artifact was largely eliminated through the use of differential micropipettes and an adaptive digital filter. Measured synchronization indices were many times larger than the indices that could be attributed to the residual stimulus artifact. Synchronization indices at each stimulus frequency varied considerably from fiber to fiber, even in the same animal. The dependence of synchrony on stimulus frequency was also variable, decreasing monotonically in some fibers and nonmonotonically in others. The average electric synchronization index for all fibers did not fall as steeply with frequency as does the average synchrony for acoustic stimuli. The finding of significant phase locking to electric stimuli well above 1 kHz suggests that the poor frequency discrimination of cochlear-implant recipients for single-channel stimulation above this frequency may be due to the inability of the central processor to make effective use of the available phase-locking information for monaural stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cochlea / physiology*
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / physiology*