Estimation of neural phase locking from stimulus-evoked potentials

J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2014 Oct;15(5):767-87. doi: 10.1007/s10162-014-0465-9. Epub 2014 Jun 3.


The frequency extent over which fine structure is coded in the auditory nerve has been physiologically characterized in laboratory animals but is unknown in humans. Knowledge of the upper frequency limit in humans would inform the debate regarding the role of fine structure in human hearing. Of the presently available techniques, only the recording of mass neural potentials offers the promise to provide a physiological estimate of neural phase locking in humans. A challenge is to disambiguate neural phase locking from the receptor potentials. We studied mass potentials recorded on the cochlea and auditory nerve of cat and used several experimental manipulations to isolate the neural contribution to these potentials. We find a surprisingly large neural contribution in the signal recorded on the cochlear round window, and this contribution is in many aspects similar to the potential measured on the auditory nerve. The results suggest that recording of mass potentials through the middle ear is a promising approach to examine neural phase locking in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Tetrodotoxin