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Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Sep;115(9):2021-30.

Brainstem responses to speech syllables.

Author information

1
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. n-russo@northwestern.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To establish reliable procedures and normative values to quantify brainstem encoding of speech sounds.

METHODS:

Auditory brainstem responses to speech syllables presented in quiet and in background noise were obtained from 38 normal children. Brainstem responses consist of transient and sustained, periodic components-much like the speech signal itself. Transient peak responses were analyzed with measures of latency, amplitude, area, and slope. Magnitude of sustained, periodic frequency-following responses was assessed with root mean square, fundamental frequency, and first formant amplitudes; timing was assessed by stimulus-to-response and quiet-to-noise inter-response correlations.

RESULTS:

Measures of transient and sustained components of the brainstem response to speech syllables were reliably obtained with high test-retest stability and low variability across subjects. All components of the brainstem response were robust in quiet. Background noise disrupted the transient responses whereas the sustained response was more resistant to the deleterious effects of noise.

CONCLUSIONS:

The speech-evoked brainstem response faithfully reflects many acoustic properties of the speech signal. Procedures to quantitatively describe it have been developed.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Accurate and precise manifestation of stimulus timing at the auditory brainstem is a hallmark of the normal perceptual system. The brainstem response to speech sounds provides a mechanism for understanding the neural bases of normal and deficient attention-independent auditory function.

PMID:
15294204
PMCID:
PMC2529166
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2004.04.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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