The influence of cochlear traveling wave and neural adaptation on auditory brainstem responses

D. Junius, Torsten Dau

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The present study investigates the relationship between evoked responses to transient broadband chirps and responses to the same chirps when embedded in longer-duration stimuli. It examines to what extent the responses to the composite stimuli can be explained by a linear superposition of the responses to the single components, as a function of stimulus level. In the first experiment, a single rising chirp was temporally and spectrally embedded in two steady-state tones. In the second experiment, the stimulus consisted of a continuous alternating train of chirps: each rising chirp was followed by the temporally reversed (falling) chirp. In both experiments, the transitions between stimulus components were continuous. For stimulation levels up to approximately 70 dB SPL, the responses to the embedded chirp corresponded to the responses to the single chirp. At high stimulus levels (80-100 dB SPL), disparities occurred between the responses, reflecting a nonlinearity in the processing when neural activity is integrated across frequency. In the third experiment, the effect of within-train rate on wave-V response was investigated. The response to the chirp presented at a within-train rate of 95 Hz exhibited the same amplitude as that to the chirp presented in the traditional single-stimulus;paradigm at a rate of 13 Hz. For a corresponding experiment with bandlimited chirps of 4 ms duration, where the within-train rate was 250 Hz, a clear reduction of the response amplitude was observed. This nonlinearity in terms of temporal processing most likely reflects effects of short-term adaptation. Overall, the results of the present study further demonstrate the importance of cochlear processing for the formation of brainstem potentials. The data may provide constraints on future models of peripheral processing in the human auditory system. The findings might also be useful for the development of effective stimulation paradigms in clinical applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)53-67
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • stimulus rate
  • frequency following response
  • neural adaptation
  • cochlear traveling wave
  • auditory brainstem response


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of cochlear traveling wave and neural adaptation on auditory brainstem responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this