Neural Synchrony, and How is it Reflected in Auditory Evoked Potentials

As audiologists, we learn about phase locking of single unit fibers to the onset of a transient or to the microstructure of a lower-frequency toneburst. We also learn that the auditory brainstem response (ABR) requires the phase- locking of auditory nerve and brainstem units in order to pull a very small response from a large background of noise. In recent years, we have also learned that what was originally called auditory neuropathy might be better characterized as auditory dys-synchrony, largely so we can explain how a patient can hear something, but not produce a recorded ABR (or produce a very abnormal ABR). In this presentation, I will review: i. The current clinical applications of auditory evoked potentials (AEPs); ii. The effects of various stimulus manipulations on AEP latency and amplitude (with a discussion of underlying mechanisms); iii. Auditory neuropathy (i.e., auditory dys-syncrony); iv. A possible animal model of auditory neuropathy; v. What we actually mean by ‘auditory synchrony’; vi. What can AEPs tell us about neural synchrony?

Learning Objectives:
1. Each attendee will be able to describe what is meant by the term ‘auditory synchrony’.
2. Each attendee will be able to list the effects of various stimulus manipulations on auditory evoked potentials.
3. Each attendee will be able to discuss whether we can currently use auditory evoked potential responses as a measure of neural synchrony.