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Brain. 1991 Jun;114 ( Pt 3):1157-80.

Absence of both auditory evoked potentials and auditory percepts dependent on timing cues.

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Department of Neurology, California College of Medicine, University of California, Irvine 92717.


An 11-yr-old girl had an absence of sensory components of auditory evoked potentials (brainstem, middle and long-latency) to click and tone burst stimuli that she could clearly hear. Psychoacoustic tests revealed a marked impairment of those auditory perceptions dependent on temporal cues, that is, lateralization of binaural clicks, change of binaural masked threshold with changes in signal phase, binaural beats, detection of paired monaural clicks, monaural detection of a silent gap in a sound, and monaural threshold elevation for short duration tones. In contrast, auditory functions reflecting intensity or frequency discriminations (difference limens) were only minimally impaired. Pure tone audiometry showed a moderate (50 dB) bilateral hearing loss with a disproportionate severe loss of word intelligibility. Those auditory evoked potentials that were preserved included (1) cochlear microphonics reflecting hair cell activity; (2) cortical sustained potentials reflecting processing of slowly changing signals; and (3) long-latency cognitive components (P300, processing negativity) reflecting endogenous auditory cognitive processes. Both the evoked potential and perceptual deficits are attributed to changes in temporal encoding of acoustic signals perhaps occurring at the synapse between hair cell and eighth nerve dendrites. The results from this patient are discussed in relation to previously published cases with absent auditory evoked potentials and preserved hearing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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