Pseudospontaneous activity: stochastic independence of auditory nerve fibers with electrical stimulation.
We describe a novel signal processing strategy for cochlear implants designed to emphasize stochastic independence across the excited neural population. The strategy is based on the observation that high rate pulse trains may produce random spike patterns in auditory nerve fibers that are statistically similar to those produced by spontaneous activity in the normal cochlea. We call this activity 'pseudospontaneous'. A supercomputer-based computational model of a population of auditory nerve fibers suggests that different average rates of pseudospontaneous activity can be created by varying the stimulus current of a fixed-amplitude, high-rate pulse train, e.g. 5000 pps. Electrically-evoked compound action potentials recorded in a human cochlear implant subject are consistent with the hypothesis that such a stimulus can desynchronize the fiber population. This desynchronization may enhance neural representation of temporal detail and dynamic range with a cochlear implant and eliminate a major difference between acoustic and electric hearing.
Rubinstein, JT; Wilson, BS; Finley, CC; Abbas, PJ
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