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Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1990;469:128-34.

Impulse patterns of auditory nerve fibres to extra- and intracochlear electrical stimulation.

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J. W. Goethe-Universit├Ąt, Zentrum der Physiologie, Frankfurt/Main, FRG.


The impulse patterns of single auditory nerve fibres in cats with normal hearing and in deafened cats were studied during electrical stimulation of the cochlea at different locations. In the case of extracochlear round-window membrane stimulation, cats with normal hearing showed lowest thresholds (32 dB re 1 microA rms) for sinusoidal stimulation in the frequency range 50-300 Hz. These thresholds were independent of the acoustically determined characteristic frequencies of the fibres. The fibres of acutely deafened cats (by Neomycin) showed no spontaneous activity and could be activated only electrically with similar current values as in normal hearing cats. The action potentials were highly synchronized with the electrical signal up to 12.8 kHz. Intracochlear electrical stimulation was performed using a human multichannel cochlear implant electrode array. The excitation thresholds of the fibres for current stimulation showed poor place dependency when using different electrodes (monopolar) in the first turn of the cochlea with a remote indifferent electrode inside the middle ear. Better localization could be obtained when using bipolar stimulation with electrode pairs (electrode distance 0.75 mm) in the scala tympani. With parallel bipolar stimulation at two different locations (distance 1.5 mm) using two independent current sources a clear interaction could be observed in the firing pattern of single fibres. The measured gain and phase relations between current signal and neuronal response allowed the calculation of a model describing the summation of current density vectors acting on an excitable nerve membrane model. On the basis of these measurements, input networks were calculated to improve the channel separation of multichannel cochlear implants.

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