An auditory-periphery model of the effects of acoustic trauma on auditory nerve responses
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Acoustic trauma degrades the auditory nerve's tonotopic representation of acoustic stimuli. Recent physiological studies have quantified the degradation in responses to the vowel /E/ and have investigated amplification schemes designed to restore a more correct tonotopic representation than is achieved with conventional hearing aids. However, it is difficult from the data to quantify how much different aspects of the cochlear pathology contribute to the impaired responses. Furthermore, extensive experimental testing of potential hearing aids is infeasible. Here, both of these concerns are addressed by developing models of the normal and impaired auditory peripheries that are tested against a wide range of physiological data. The effects of both outer and inner hair cell status on model predictions of the vowel data were investigated. The modeling results indicate that impairment of both outer and inner hair cells contribute to degradation in the tonotopic representation of the formant frequencies in the auditory nerve. Additionally, the model is able to predict the effects of frequency-shaping amplification on auditory nerve responses, indicating the model's potential suitability for more rapid development and testing of hearing aid schemes.
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