Frequency selectivity in monkey auditory nerve studied with suprathreshold multicomponent stimuli

P. X. Joris*, E. Verschooten, M. Mc Laughlin, C. P.C. Versteegh, M. van der Heijden

*Corresponding author for this work

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Data from non-human primates can help extend observations from non-primate species to humans. Here we report measurements on the auditory nerve of macaque monkeys in the context of a controversial topic important to human hearing. A range of techniques have been used to examine the claim, which is not generally accepted, that human frequency tuning is sharper than traditionally thought, and sharper than in commonly used animal models. Data from single auditory-nerve fibers occupy a pivotal position to examine this claim, but are not available for humans. A previous study reported sharper tuning in auditory-nerve fibers of macaque relative to the cat. A limitation of these and other single-fiber data is that frequency selectivity was measured with tonal threshold-tuning curves, which do not directly assess spectral filtering and whose shape is sharpened by cochlear nonlinearity. Our aim was to measure spectral filtering with wideband suprathreshold stimuli in the macaque auditory nerve. We obtained responses of single nerve fibers of anesthetized macaque monkeys and cats to a suprathreshold, wideband, multicomponent stimulus designed to allow characterization of spectral filtering at any cochlear locus. Quantitatively the differences between the two species are smaller than in previous studies, but consistent with these studies the filters obtained show a trend of sharper tuning in macaque, relative to the cat, for fibers in the basal half of the cochlea. We also examined differences in group delay measured on the phase data near the characteristic frequency versus in the low-frequency tail. The phase data are consistent with the interpretation of sharper frequency tuning in monkey in the basal half of the cochlea. We conclude that use of suprathreshold, wide-band stimuli supports the interpretation of sharper frequency selectivity in macaque nerve fibers relative to the cat, although the difference is less marked than apparent from the assessment with tonal threshold-based data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108964
JournalHearing Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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