The brain-stem auditory-evoked response in the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) to clicks and frequency-modulated sweeps

J Acoust Soc Am. 1994 Aug;96(2 Pt 1):801-10. doi: 10.1121/1.410318.


Three experiments were performed to evaluate the effects of stimulus level on the brain-stem auditory-evoked response (BAER) in the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), a species that uses frequency-modulated (FM) sonar sounds for echolocation. In experiment 1, the effects of click level on the BAER were investigated. Clicks were presented at levels of 30 to 90 dB pSPL in 10-dB steps. Each animal responded reliably to clicks at levels of 50 dB pSPL and above, showing a BAER containing four peaks in the first 3-4 ms from click onset (waves i-iv). With increasing click level, BAER peak amplitude increased and peak latency decreased. A decrease in the i-iv interval also occurred with increasing click level. In experiment 2, stimuli were 1-ms linear FM sweeps, decreasing in frequency from 100 to 20 kHz. Stimulus levels ranged from 20 to 90 dB pSPL. BAERs to FM sweeps were observed in all animals for levels of 40 dB pSPL and above. These responses were similar to the click-evoked BAER in waveform morphology, with the notable exception of an additional peak observed at the higher levels of FM sweeps. This peak (wave ia) occurred prior to the first wave seen at lower levels (wave ib). As the level of the FM sweep increased, there was a decrease in peak latency and an increase in peak amplitude. Similarity in the magnitude and behavior of the i-iv and ib-iv intervals suggests that wave ib to FM sweeps is the homolog of the wave i response to click stimuli. Experiment 3 tested the hypothesis that wave ia represented activity emanating from more basal cochlear regions than wave ib. FM sweeps (100-20 kHz) were presented at 90 dB pSPL, and broadband noise was raised in level until the BAER was eliminated. This "masked threshold" occurred at 85 dB SPL of noise. At masked threshold, the broadband noise was steeply high-pass filtered at five cutoff frequencies ranging from 20 to 80 kHz. Generally, wave ia was eliminated for masker cutoff frequencies of 56.6 kHz and below, while wave ib was typically observed for masker cutoffs down to 28.3 kHz. The results of these three experiments are compared and contrasted with data from other mammalian BAER studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Echolocation
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology*