Comparison of response properties of the electrically stimulated auditory nerve reported in human listeners and in animal models
Additional Document Info
Cochlear implants (CIs) provide acoustic information to implanted patients by electrically stimulating nearby auditory nerve fibers (ANFs) which then transmit the information to higher-level neural structures for further processing and interpretation. Computational models that simulate ANF responses to CI stimuli enable the exploration of the mechanisms underlying CI performance beyond the capacity of in vivo experimentation alone. However, all ANF models developed to date utilize to some extent anatomical/morphometric data, biophysical properties and/or physiological data measured in non-human animal models. This review compares response properties of the electrically stimulated auditory nerve (AN) in human listeners and different mammalian models. Properties of AN responses to single pulse stimulation, paired-pulse stimulation, and pulse-train stimulation are presented. While some AN response properties are similar between human listeners and animal models (e.g., increased AN sensitivity to single pulse stimuli with long interphase gaps), there are some significant differences. For example, the AN of most animal models is typically more sensitive to cathodic stimulation while the AN of human listeners is generally more sensitive to anodic stimulation. Additionally, there are substantial differences in the speed of recovery from neural adaptation between animal models and human listeners. Therefore, results from animal models cannot be simply translated to human listeners. Recognizing the differences in responses of the AN to electrical stimulation between humans and other mammals is an important step for creating ANF models that are more applicable to various human CI patient populations.