< Back to previous page


Using Interleaved Stimulation to Measure the Size and Selectivity of the Sustained Phase-Locked Neural Response to Cochlear Implant Stimulation

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

We measured the sustained neural response to electrical stimulation by a cochlear implant (CI). To do so, we interleaved two stimuli with frequencies F1 and F2 Hz and recorded a neural distortion response (NDR) at F2-F1 Hz. We show that, because any one time point contains only the F1 or F2 stimulus, the instantaneous nonlinearities typical of electrical artefact should not produce distortion at this frequency. However, if the stimulus is smoothed, such as by charge integration at the nerve membrane, subsequent (neural) nonlinearities can produce a component at F2-F1 Hz. We stimulated a single CI electrode with interleaved sinusoids or interleaved amplitude-modulated pulse trains such that F2 = 1.5F1, and found no evidence for an NDR when F2-F1 was between 90 and 120 Hz. However, interleaved amplitude-modulated pulse trains with F2-F1~40 Hz revealed a substantial NDR with a group delay of about 45 ms, consistent with a thalamic and/or cortical response. The NDR could be measured even from recording electrodes adjacent to the implant and at the highest pulse rates (> 4000 pps) used clinically. We then measured the selectivity of this sustained response by presenting F1 and F2 to different electrodes and at different between-electrode distances. This revealed a broad tuning that, we argue, reflects the overlap between the excitation elicited by the two electrodes. Our results also provide a glimpse of the neural nonlinearity in the auditory system, unaffected by the biomechanical cochlear nonlinearities that accompany acoustic stimulation. Several potential clinical applications of our findings are discussed.
Journal: Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
ISSN: 1525-3961
Issue: 2
Volume: 22
Pages: 141 - 159
Publication year:2021