Increased Auditory Cortex Neural Response Amplitude in Adults with Chronic Unilateral Conductive Hearing Impairment

Lauren Parry, Michael R D Maslin, Roland Schaette, David Moore, Kevin Munro

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Abstract

Animal studies have demonstrated that unilateral hearing loss can induce changes in neural response amplitude of the mature central auditory system (CAS). However, there is limited physiological evidence of these neural gain changes in the auditory cortex of human adults. The present study investigated the impact of chronic, unilateral conductive hearing impairment on cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) recorded from 15 adults (21-65 years old) in response to a 1 kHz tone (80 ms duration) presented to the impaired ear via a bone conduction transducer. The amplitude and latency of the main CAEP components were compared to those obtained from normal hearing age-matched control participants. Both P1-N1 and N1-P2 amplitudes were significantly larger in the hearing impaired relative to the control participants. Differences between groups in the mean latencies of P1, N1, and P2 were not statistically significant. These results are the first to provide direct evidence of increased neural response amplitude in the adult human auditory cortex in the presence of unilateral conductive hearing loss. Importantly, the study shows that central gain changes are a direct result of deprivation of sound rather than cochlear or neural pathology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHearing Research
Early online date2 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Auditory deprivation
  • Plasticity
  • Cortical auditory evoked potential
  • Adult

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