Microstimulation of auditory nerve for estimating cochlear place of single fibers in a deaf ear
Multielectrode cochlear prostheses seek to approximate the cochlea's normal frequency-place mapping through spatial segregation of stimulus currents. Various electrode configurations have been employed to achieve such segregation. Direct measurements of stimulation regions among single auditory nerve (AN) fibers has been possible only when normal hearing is preserved, such that each fiber's cochlear place can be inferred from its tuning curve. This precludes measurements in deafened ears, or ears compromised by implantation of the electrodes. Data presented here demonstrate that the cochlear place of an AN fiber can be estimated without acoustic sensitivity, using electrical microstimulation through a recording pipette in the AN bundle. The procedure exploits cochleotopic projection to isofrequency laminae within the contralateral inferior colliculus (IC). Microstimulation excites a small group of fibers neighboring the recorded fiber, generating centrally propagated volleys along a narrow frequency-specific pathway. Evoked potential recordings at varying depths are made to identify the ICC lamina where the response to AN microstimulation is greatest. Preliminary data are also presented for an alternative method of identifying the lamina using a frequency domain measure of binaural interactions within the IC
van den, HC., Finley, C., & Xue, S. (1997). Microstimulation of auditory nerve for estimating cochlear place of single fibers in a deaf ear. Hearing Research, 113(1-2), 140-154.