[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the development of two parameters of spatial acoustic perception in children and adolescents with normal hearing, aged 6-18 years. Auditory localization accuracy was quantified by means of a sound source identification task and auditory spatial discrimination acuity by measuring minimum audible angles (MAA). Both low- and high-frequency noise bursts were employed in the tests, thereby separately addressing auditory processing based on interaural time and intensity differences. Setup consisted of 47 loudspeakers mounted in the frontal azimuthal hemifield, ranging from 90° left to 90° right (-90°, +90°). Target signals were presented from 8 loudspeaker positions in the left and right hemifields (±4°, ±30°, ±60° and ±90°). Localization accuracy and spatial discrimination acuity showed different developmental courses. Localization accuracy remained stable from the age of 6 onwards. In contrast, MAA thresholds and interindividual variability of spatial discrimination decreased significantly with increasing age. Across all age groups, localization was most accurate and MAA thresholds were lower for frontal than for lateral sound sources, and for low-frequency compared to high-frequency noise bursts. The study also shows better performance in spatial hearing based on interaural time differences rather than on intensity differences throughout development. These findings confirm that specific aspects of central auditory processing show continuous development during childhood up to adolescence.
Audiology and Neurotology 10/2012; 18(1):48-62. DOI:10.1159/000342904 · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmission at central synapses exhibits rapid changes in response amplitude under different patterns of stimulation. Whether the delay associated with the transmission of action potentials is similarly modifiable is important for temporally precise computations. We address this question at the calyx of Held of the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) in Mongolian gerbils in vivo using extracellular recordings. Here the pre- and postsynaptic activity can be observed simultaneously, allowing the definition of an action potential transmission delay (ATD) from the pre- to the postsynaptic side. We find the ATD to increase as a function of spike rate (10-40%). The temporal dynamics of the ATD increase exhibit an exponential shape with activity-dependent time constants ( approximately 15-25 ms). Recovery dynamics of ATD were mono- (20-70 ms) or biexponential with fast (3-20 ms) and slow time constants (50-500 ms). Using a phenomenological model to capture ATD dynamics, we estimated DeltaATD = 5-30 micros per transmitted action potential. Using vocalizations and cage noise stimuli, we confirm that substantial changes in ATD occur in natural situations. Because the ATD changes cover the behaviorally relevant range of interaural time differences in gerbils, these results could provide constraints for models of sound localization.
Journal of Neurophysiology 07/2009; 102(2):1206-17. DOI:10.1152/jn.00275.2009 · 2.89 Impact Factor