TP-2: Updates in Evoked Potentials


Frequency-Following Response (FFR) is an auditory evoked potential retrieved from the EEG. The FFR reflects the capacity of encoding the temporal and spectral features of speech sounds in a cortical and subcortical auditory network (Coffey et al., 2019). FFR can offer a powerful neurophysiological marker of efficient encoding of speech sounds in adverse noisy conditions. Disruptions in the FFR are present in individuals with poor speech perception in presence of irrelevant auditory information across the age span. Abnormal FFR can be characterized by an impoverished representation of speech harmonics and, less precise temporal encoding and/or deficits in timing and frequency encoding of speech sounds. Any deficits in neural processing of consonants in noise in children would predict some difficulties in reading or related skills.

Studies analysed auditory processing of complex sounds in newborns revealed early representation of low frequencies related to the speech envelope (Jeng, Lin & Wang, 2016; Ribas-Prats et al., 2019). The influence of background noise on speech sounds encoding during earliest stages of life has never been investigated. It is important to understand the development of speech-in-noise (SIN) processing from the first days of life by using evoked potentials recording. An early detection of FFR abnormalities in processing SIN could lead to earlier intervention of central auditory processing disorders and language difficulties.

Coffey, E. B., Nicol, T., White-Schwoch, T., Chandrasekaran, B., Krizman, J., Skoe, E., Zatorre, R. J., & Kraus, N. (2019). Evolving perspectives on the sources of the frequency-following response. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-10. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13003-w

Jeng, F. C., Lin, C. D., & Wang, T. C. (2016). Subcortical neural representation to Mandarin pitch contours in American and Chinese newborns. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 139(6), EL190-EL195. doi: 10.1121/1.4953998

Ribas-Prats, T., Almeida, L., Costa-Faidella, J., Plana, M., Corral, M. J., Gómez-Roig, M. D., & Escera, C. (2019). The frequency-following response (FFR) to speech stimuli: a normative dataset in healthy newborns. Hearing research, 371, 28-39. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2018.11.001

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to explain the recording procedure of Frequency Following Responses to syllable /da/ in newborns.
  • Participants will be able to identify the abnormal results of speech-evoked responses measured by FFR.
  • Participants will be able to describe potential clinical applications of speech evoked responses (FFR) in newborns and in children.