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Hear Res. 1989 Jan;37(2):89-104.

Effects of contralateral sound on auditory-nerve responses. I. Contributions of cochlear efferents.

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Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


The response properties of single auditory-nerve fibers in barbiturate-anaesthetized cats were recorded with and without simultaneous presentation of sound to the contralateral ear. The tendons to the middle ear muscles on both sides were cut before all experiments, and contralateral stimuli were restricted to levels below the threshold for crosstalk to the ipsilateral ear. Contralateral tones and broad-band noise were found to suppress the responses of auditory-nerve afferents to ipsilateral tones at their characteristic frequency (CF), but not to tones off CF. The suppression due to contralateral sound required approximately 100-200 ms to develop and to decay. When the contralateral stimuli were tones at the CF, the strongest suppression was observed in low- and medium-spontaneous-rate units with CFs between 1 and 2 kHz. The suppressive effect of contralateral sound completely disappeared immediately after severing the entire olivocochlear bundle (OCB) within the internal auditory meatus. the completeness of the OCB cuts was assessed histologically. Most of the suppressive effect remained after lesions to the OCB in the floor of the IVth ventricle which eliminated the crossed olivocochlear projection but spared most of the uncrossed projection. It is argued that this suppressive effect of contralateral sound is mediated by the uncrossed olivocochlear efferents to the outer hair cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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