Diminished behavioral and neural sensitivity to sound modulation is associated with moderate developmental hearing loss

Merri J. Rosen, Emma C. Sarro, Jack B. Kelly, Dan H. Sanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The acoustic rearing environment can alter central auditory coding properties, yet altered neural coding is seldom linked with specific deficits to adult perceptual skills. To test whether developmental hearing loss resulted in comparable changes to perception and sensory coding, we examined behavioral and neural detection thresholds for sinusoidally amplitude modulated (sAM) stimuli. Behavioral sAM detection thresholds for slow (5 Hz) modulations were significantly worse for animals reared with bilateral conductive hearing loss (CHL), as compared to controls. This difference could not be attributed to hearing thresholds, proficiency at the task, or proxies for attention. Detection thresholds across the groups did not differ for fast (100 Hz) modulations, a result paralleling that seen in humans. Neural responses to sAM stimuli were recorded in single auditory cortex neurons from separate groups of awake animals. Neurometric analyses indicated equivalent thresholds for the most sensitive neurons, but a significantly poorer detection threshold for slow modulations across the population of CHL neurons as compared to controls. The magnitude of the neural deficit matched that of the behavioral differences, suggesting that a reduction of sensory information can account for limitations to perceptual skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere41514
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 26 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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