This study aimed to (1) establish the feasibility of measuring the electrically evoked auditory change complex (eACC) in response to temporal gaps in children with cochlear nerve deficiency (CND) who are using cochlear implants (CIs) and/or auditory brainstem implants (ABIs); and (2) explore the association between neural encoding of, and perceptual sensitivity to, temporal gaps in these patients.Design:
Study participants included 5 children (S1 to S5) ranging in age from 3.8 to 8.2 years (mean: 6.3 years) at the time of testing. All subjects were unilaterally implanted with a Nucleus 24M ABI due to CND. For each subject, two or more stimulating electrodes of the ABI were tested. S2, S3, and S5 previously received a CI in the contralateral ear. For these 3 subjects, at least two stimulating electrodes of their CIs were also tested. For electrophysiological measures, the stimulus was an 800-msec biphasic pulse train delivered to individual electrodes at the maximum comfortable level (C level). The electrically evoked responses, including the onset response and the eACC, were measured for two stimulation conditions. In the standard condition, the 800-msec pulse train was delivered uninterrupted to individual stimulating electrodes. In the gapped condition, a temporal gap was inserted into the pulse train after 400 msec of stimulation. Gap durations tested in this study ranged from 2 up to 128 msec. The shortest gap that could reliably evoke the eACC was defined as the objective gap detection threshold (GDT). For behavioral GDT measures, the stimulus was a 500-msec biphasic pulse train presented at the C level. The behavioral GDT was measured for individual stimulating electrodes using a one-interval, two-alternative forced-choice procedure.Results:
The eACCs to temporal gaps were recorded successfully in all subjects for at least one stimulating electrode using either the ABI or the CI. Objective GDTs showed intersubject variations, as well as variations across stimulating electrodes of the ABI or the CI within each subject. Behavioral GDTs were measured for one ABI electrode in S2 and for multiple ABI and CI electrodes in S5. All other subjects could not complete the task. S5 showed smaller behavioral GDTs for CI electrodes than those measured for ABI electrodes. One CI and two ABI electrodes in S5 showed comparable objective and behavioral GDTs. In contrast, one CI and two ABI electrodes in S5 and one ABI electrode in S2 showed measurable behavioral GDTs but no identifiable eACCs.Conclusions:
The eACCs to temporal gaps were recorded in children with CND using either ABIs or CIs. Both objective and behavioral GDTs showed inter- and intrasubject variations. Consistency between results of eACC recordings and psychophysical measures of GDT was observed for some but not all ABI or CI electrodes in these subjects.