The development of some peripheral and central auditory responses in the neonatal cat

David Moore, D R Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of cochlear nerve action potential thresholds at different frequencies (AP audiograms) and inferior colliculus (IC) single unit thresholds and tuning was examined in barbiturate-anaesthetized kittens. AP thresholds decreased over the whole frequency spectrum during the first 5 weeks of life. Thresholds to high-frequency stimulation remained higher in 7-week-old animals than in adults. These results are in contrast to previous reports which have suggested that the AP response and gross cochlear anatomy are mature by the end of the second week. These differences may be due to the fact that the AP audiogram technique provides a measure of the activity of discrete regions along the cochlear partition. IC units in animals younger than 3.5 weeks had significantly elevated thresholds and broader tuning than those of the adult cat. Comparison of AP audiogram and IC unit thresholds in the adult revealed that these indices show similar frequency-dependent sensitivity. The slower maturation revealed by the AP audiogram may be due to the greater number and/or synchrony of cochlear nerve discharges needed to produce the gross AP. If this were the case, perception of suprathreshold sounds might not develop as quickly as thresholds for sound detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 1979


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Auditory Perception
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Cats
  • Cochlear Nerve
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Inferior Colliculi
  • Neurons
  • Reaction Time
  • Journal Article


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