Assessing temporal modulation sensitivity using electrically evoked auditory steady state responses

  • Luke R
  • Van Deun L
  • Hofmann M
 et al. 
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Abstract

Temporal cues are important for cochlear implant (CI) users when listening to speech. Users with greater sensitivity to temporal modulations show better speech recognition and modifications to stimulation parameters based on modulation sensitivity have resulted in improved speech understanding. Behavioural measures of temporal sensitivity require cooperative participants and a large amount of time. These limitations have motivated the desire for an objective measure with which to appraise temporal sensitivity for CI users.Electrically evoked auditory steady state responses (EASSRs) are neural responses to periodic electrical stimulation that have been used to predict threshold (T) levels. In this study we evaluate the use of EASSRs as a tool for assessing temporal modulation sensitivity.Modulation sensitivity was assessed behaviourally using modulation detection thresholds (MDTs) for a 20Hz rate. On the same stimulation sites, EASSRS were measured using sinusoidally amplitude modulated pulse trains at 4 and 40Hz. Measurements were taken using a bipolar configuration on 12 electrode pairs over 5 participants. Results showed that EASSR amplitudes and signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) were significantly related to the MDTs. Larger EASSRs corresponded with sites of improved modulation sensitivity. This relation was driven by across-subject variation. This result indicates that EASSRs may be used as an objective measure of site-specific temporal sensitivity for CI users.

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