A quantitative model is presented that describes the formation of auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) to tone pulses, clicks, and rising chirps as a function of stimulation level. The model computes the convolution of the instantaneous discharge rates using the “humanized” nonlinear auditory-nerve model of Zilany and Bruce [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122, 402–417 (2007)] and an empirically derived unitary response function which is assumed to reflect contributions from different cell populations within the auditory brainstem, recorded at a given pair of electrodes on the scalp. It is shown that the model accounts for the decrease of tone-pulse evoked wave-V latency with frequency but underestimates the level dependency of the tone-pulse as well as click-evoked latency values. Furthermore, the model correctly predicts the nonlinear wave-V amplitude behavior in response to the chirp stimulation both as a function of chirp sweeping rate and level. Overall, the results support the hypothesis that the pattern of ABR generation is strongly affected by the nonlinear and dispersive processes in the cochlea.
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