Effect of Pulse Rate and Polarity on the Sensitivity of Auditory Brainstem and Cochlear Implant Users to Electrical Stimulation
AuthorCarlyon, RP; Deeks, JM; McKay, CM
Source TitleJARO: Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
University of Melbourne Author/sMcKay, Colette
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsCarlyon, R. P., Deeks, J. M. & McKay, C. M. (2015). Effect of Pulse Rate and Polarity on the Sensitivity of Auditory Brainstem and Cochlear Implant Users to Electrical Stimulation. JARO-JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH IN OTOLARYNGOLOGY, 16 (5), pp.653-668. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10162-015-0530-z.
Access StatusOpen Access
To further understand the response of the human brainstem to electrical stimulation, a series of experiments compared the effect of pulse rate and polarity on detection thresholds between auditory brainstem implant (ABI) and cochlear implant (CI) patients. Experiment 1 showed that for 400-ms pulse trains, ABI users' thresholds dropped by about 2 dB as pulse rate was increased from 71 to 500 pps, but only by an average of 0.6 dB as rate was increased further to 3500 pps. This latter decrease was much smaller than the 7.7-dB observed for CI users. A similar result was obtained for pulse trains with a 40-ms duration. Furthermore, experiment 2 showed that the threshold difference between 500- and 3500-pps pulse trains remained much smaller for ABI than for CI users, even for durations as short as 2 ms, indicating the effect of a fast-acting mechanism. Experiment 3 showed that ABI users' thresholds were lower for alternating-polarity than for fixed-polarity pulse trains, and that this difference was greater at 3500 pps than at 500 pps, consistent with the effect of pulse rate on ABI users' thresholds being influenced by charge interactions between successive biphasic pulses. Experiment 4 compared thresholds and loudness between trains of asymmetric pulses of opposite polarity, in monopolar mode, and showed that in both cases less current was needed when the anodic, rather than the cathodic, current was concentrated into a short time interval. This finding is similar to that previously observed for CI users and is consistent with ABI users being more sensitive to anodic than cathodic current. We argue that our results constrain potential explanations for the differences in the perception of electrical stimulation by CI and ABI users, and have potential implications for future ABI stimulation strategies.
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