Models of brainstem responses to bilateral electrical stimulation

H. Steven Colburn, Yoojin Chung, Yi Zhou, Andrew Brughera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A simple, biophysically specified cell model is used to predict responses of binaurally sensitive neurons to patterns of input spikes that represent stimulation by acoustic and electric waveforms. Specifically, the effects of changes in parameters of input spike trains on model responses to interaural time difference (ITD) were studied for low-frequency periodic stimuli, with or without amplitude modulation. Simulations were limited to purely excitatory, bilaterally driven cell models with basic ionic currents and multiple input fibers. Parameters explored include average firing rate, synchrony index, modulation frequency, and latency dispersion of the input trains as well as the excitatory conductance and time constant of individual synapses in the cell model. Results are compared to physiological recordings from the inferior colliculus (IC) and discussed in terms of ITD-discrimination abilities of listeners with cochlear implants. Several empirically observed aspects of ITD sensitivity were simulated without evoking complex neural processing. Specifically, our results show saturation effects in rate-ITD curves, the absence of sustained responses to high-rate unmodulated pulse trains, the renewal of sensitivity to ITD in high-rate trains when inputs are amplitude-modulated, and interactions between envelope and fine-structure delays for some modulation frequencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-110
Number of pages20
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory brainstem model
  • Binaural hearing
  • Cochlear implant
  • Electric hearing
  • Interaural time delay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems


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