Electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve with a cochlear implant (CI) is the method of choice for treatment of severe-to-profound hearing loss. Understanding how the human auditory cortex responds to CI stimulation is important for advances in stimulation paradigms and rehabilitation strategies. In this study, auditory cortical responses to CI stimulation were recorded intracranially in a neurosurgical patient to examine directly the functional organization of the auditory cortex and compare the findings with those obtained in normal-hearing subjects. The subject was a bilateral CI user with a 20-year history of deafness and refractory epilepsy. As part of the epilepsy treatment, a subdural grid electrode was implanted over the left temporal lobe. Pure tones, click trains, sinusoidal amplitude-modulated noise, and speech were presented via the auxiliary input of the right CI speech processor. Additional experiments were conducted with bilateral CI stimulation. Auditory event-related changes in cortical activity, characterized by the averaged evoked potential and event-related band power, were localized to posterolateral superior temporal gyrus. Responses were stable across recording sessions and were abolished under general anesthesia. Response latency decreased and magnitude increased with increasing stimulus level. More apical intracochlear stimulation yielded the largest responses. Cortical evoked potentials were phase-locked to the temporal modulations of periodic stimuli and speech utterances. Bilateral electrical stimulation resulted in minimal artifact contamination. This study demonstrates the feasibility of intracranial electrophysiological recordings of responses to CI stimulation in a human subject, shows that cortical response properties may be similar to those obtained in normal-hearing individuals, and provides a basis for future comparisons with extracranial recordings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abundant evidence from both field and lab studies has established that conspecific vocalizations (CVs) are of critical ecological significance for a wide variety of species, including humans, nonhuman primates, rodents, and other mammals and birds. Correspondingly, a number of experiments have demonstrated behavioral processing advantages for CVs, such as in discrimination and memory tasks. Further, a wide range of experiments have described brain regions in many species that appear to be specialized for processing CVs. For example, several neural regions have been described in both mammals and birds wherein greater neural responses are elicited by CVs than by comparison stimuli such as heterospecific vocalizations, nonvocal complex sounds, and artificial stimuli. These observations raise the question of whether these regions reflect domain-specific neural mechanisms dedicated to processing CVs, or alternatively, if these regions reflect domain-general neural mechanisms for representing complex sounds of learned significance. Inasmuch as CVs can be viewed as complex combinations of basic spectrotemporal features, the plausibility of the latter position is supported by a large body of literature describing modulated cortical and subcortical representation of a variety of acoustic features that have been experimentally associated with stimuli of natural behavioral significance (such as food rewards). Herein, we review a relatively small body of existing literature describing the roles of experience, learning, and memory in the emergence of species-typical neural representations of CVs and auditory system plasticity. In both songbirds and mammals, manipulations of auditory experience as well as specific learning paradigms are shown to modulate neural responses evoked by CVs, either in terms of overall firing rate or temporal firing patterns. In some cases, CV-sensitive neural regions gradually acquire representation of non-CV stimuli with which subjects have training and experience. These results parallel literature in humans describing modulation of responses in face-sensitive neural regions through learning and experience. Thus, although many questions remain, the available evidence is consistent with the notion that CVs may acquire distinct neural representation through domain-general mechanisms for representing complex auditory objects that are of learned importance to the animal.
Hearing research 06/2013; 305(1). DOI:10.1016/j.heares.2013.06.005 · 2.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
Cochlear implants (CIs) can partially restore hearing, but the cortical changes underlying auditory rehabilitation are not well understood.
This prospective longitudinal study used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine the temporal dynamics of changes in the auditory cortex contralateral and ipsilateral to the CI. Postlingually deafened CI recipients (N = 11; mean: 59 years) performed an auditory frequency discrimination task after < 1 week, 8 weeks, 15 weeks, and 59 weeks of CI use.
The CI users revealed a remarkable improvement in auditory discrimination ability which was most pronounced over the first eight weeks of CI experience. At the same time, CI users developed N1 auditory event-related potentials (AEP) with significantly enhanced amplitude and decreased latency, both in the auditory cortex contralateral and ipsilateral to the CI. A relationship was found between the duration of deafness and the ipsilateral AEP latency.
Postlingually deafened adult CI users show rapid adaptation of the bilateral auditory cortex. Cortical plasticity is limited after long duration of auditory deprivation.
The finding of rapid and limited cortical changes in adult CI recipients may be of clinical relevance and can help estimate the role of plasticity for therapeutic gain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The temporal envelope of speech is important for speech intelligibility. Entrainment of cortical oscillations to the speech temporal envelope is a putative mechanism underlying speech intelligibility. Here we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to test the hypothesis that phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope is enhanced for intelligible compared with unintelligible speech sentences. Perceptual "pop-out" was used to change the percept of physically identical tone-vocoded speech sentences from unintelligible to intelligible. The use of pop-out dissociates changes in phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope arising from acoustical differences between un/intelligible speech from changes in speech intelligibility itself. Novel and bespoke whole-head beamforming analyses, based on significant cross-correlation between the temporal envelopes of the speech stimuli and phase-locked neural activity, were used to localize neural sources that track the speech temporal envelope of both intelligible and unintelligible speech. Location-of-interest analyses were carried out in a priori defined locations to measure the representation of the speech temporal envelope for both un/intelligible speech in both the time domain (cross-correlation) and frequency domain (coherence). Whole-brain beamforming analyses identified neural sources phase-locked to the temporal envelopes of both unintelligible and intelligible speech sentences. Crucially there was no difference in phase-locking to the temporal envelope of speech in the pop-out condition in either the whole-brain or location-of-interest analyses, demonstrating that phase-locking to the speech temporal envelope is not enhanced by linguistic information.
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