Measuring temporal response properties of auditory nerve fibers in cochlear implant recipients
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Auditory nerve fibers' (ANFs) refractoriness and facilitation can be quantified in electrically evoked compound action potentials (ECAPs) recorded via neural response telemetry (NRT). Although facilitation has been observed in animals and human cochlear implant (CI) recipients, no study has modeled this in human CI users until now. In this study, recovery and facilitation effects at different masker and probe levels for three test electrodes (E6, E12 and E18) in 11 CI subjects were recorded. The ECAP recovery and facilitation were modeled by exponential functions and the same function used for +10 CL masker offset condition can be applied to all other masker offsets measurements. Goodness of fit was evaluated for the exponential functions. A significant effect of probe level was observed on a recovery time constant which highlights the importance of recording the recovery function at the maximum acceptable stimulus level. Facilitation time constant and amplitude showed no dependency on the probe level. However, facilitation was stronger for masker level at or around the threshold of the ECAP (T-ECAP). There was a positive correlation between facilitation magnitude and amplitude growth function (AGF) slope, which indicates that CI subjects with better peripheral neural survival have stronger facilitation.
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