Characterizing individual differences in frequency coding: Implications for hidden hearing loss
A long-standing debate in hearing research has focused on whether frequency is coded in the peripheral auditory system via phase-locked timing information in the auditory nerve (temporal code), or via tonotopic information based on the firing rates of auditory-nerve fibers tuned to different frequencies (rate-place code). Because frequency discrimination is generally much more accurate than intensity discrimination, it has been thought that frequency is likely to be coded via a temporal code, whereas intensity is represented via a rate code. However, direct empirical tests of this assumption have produced mixed results. This paper reviews a way in which the coding of both frequency and intensity might be reconciled within a single mechanism, and then uses an approach based on simple signal detection theory to predict the effects of a loss auditory-nerve synapses (synaptopathy) on some basic psychoacoustic phenomena, such as detection thresholds, frequency discrimination, and intensity discrimination. The predictions provide a baseline with which to compare future empirical findings based on the perceptual consequences of synaptopathy, or “hidden hearing loss.”
Brand, A., Behrend, O., Marquardt, T., McAlpine, D., and Grothe, B. (2002). “Precise inhibition is essential for microsecond interaural time difference coding,” Nature, 417, 543-547.
Buus, S. and Florentine, M. (1991). “Psychometric functions for level discrimination,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 90, 1371-1380.
Buus, S., Florentine, M., and Zwicker, T. (1995). “Psychometric functions for level discrimination in cochlearly impaired and normal listeners with equivalent-threshold masking,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 98, 853-861.
Cohen, M.R. and Kohn, A. (2011). “Measuring and interpreting neuronal correlations,” Nat. Neurosci., 14, 811-819.
Dai, H. and Micheyl, C. (2011). “Psychometric functions for pure-tone frequency discrimination,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 130, 263-272.
Fernandez, K.A., Jeffers, P.W., Lall, K., Liberman, M.C., and Kujawa, S.G. (2015). “Aging after noise exposure: acceleration of cochlear synaptopathy in “recovered” ears,” J. Neurosci., 35, 7509-7520.
Furman, A.C., Kujawa, S.G., and Liberman, M.C. (2013). “Noise-induced cochlear neuropathy is selective for fibers with low spontaneous rates,” J. Neurophysiol., 110, 577-586.
Glasberg, B. and Moore, B.C.J. (1986). “The relationship between frequency selectivity and frequency discrimination for subjects with unilateral and bilateral cochlear impairments,” in Auditory Frequency Selectivity. Eds. B.C.J. Moore and R.D. Patterson (Plenum, New York, NY), pp. 407-417.
Green, D.M., McKey, M.J., and Licklider, J.C.R. (1959). “Detection of a pulsed sinusoid in noise as a function of frequency,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 31, 1446-1452.
Green, D.M. and Swets, J.A. (1966). Signal Detection Theory and Psychophysics (Krieger, New York).
Heinz, M.G., Colburn, H.S., and Carney, L.H. (2001a). “Evaluating auditory performance limits: I. one-parameter discrimination using a computational model for the auditory nerve,” Neural Comput., 13, 2273-2316.
Heinz, M.G., Colburn, H.S., and Carney, L.H. (2001b). “Rate and timing cues associated with the cochlear amplifier: level discrimination based on monaural cross-frequency coincidence detection,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 110, 2065-2084.
Hicks, M.L. and Buus, S. (2000). “Efficient across-frequency integration: evidence from psychometric functions,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 107, 3333-3342.
Kujawa, S.G. and Liberman, M. C. (2009). “Adding insult to injury: Cochlear nerve degeneration after “temporary” noise-induced hearing loss,” J. Neurosci., 29, 14077-14085.
Lacher-Fougere, S. and Demany, L. (1998). “Modulation detection by normal and hearing-impaired listeners,” Audiology, 37, 109-121.
Micheyl, C. and Oxenham, A.J. (2012). “Comparing models of the combined-stimulation advantage for speech recognition,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 131, 3970-3980.
Micheyl, C., Xiao, L., and Oxenham, A.J. (2012). “Characterizing the dependence of pure-tone frequency difference limens on frequency, duration, and level,” Hear. Res., 292, 1-13.
Micheyl, C., Schrater, P.R., and Oxenham, A.J. (2013). “Auditory frequency and intensity discrimination explained using a cortical population rate code,” PLoS Comput. Biol., 9, e1003336.
Moore, B.C.J. (1973). “Frequency difference limens for short-duration tones,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 54, 610-619.
Moore, B.C.J. and Peters, R.W. (1992). “Pitch discrimination and phase sensitivity in young and elderly subjects and its relationship to frequency selectivity,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 91, 2881-2893.
Moore, B.C.J. and Sek, A. (1995). “Effects of carrier frequency, modulation rate, and modulation waveform on the detection of modulation and the discrimination of modulation type (amplitude modulation versus frequency modulation),” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 97, 2468-2478.
Moore, B.C.J., Vickers, D.A., Plack, C.J., and Oxenham, A.J. (1999). “Inter-relationship between different psychoacoustic measures assumed to be related to the cochlear active mechanism,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 106, 2761-2778.
Moore, B.C.J., Vickers, D.A., and Mehta, A. (2012). “The effects of age on temporal fine structure sensitivity in monaural and binaural conditions,” Int. J. Audiol., 51, 715-721.
Musch, H. and Buus, S. (2001a). “Using statistical decision theory to predict speech intelligibility. I. Model structure,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 109, 2896-2909.
Musch, H. and Buus, S. (2001b). “Using statistical decision theory to predict speech intelligibility. II,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 109, 2910-2920.
Plack, C.J., Barker, D., and Prendergast, G. (2014). “Perceptual consequences of “hidden” hearing loss,” Trends Hear., 18.
Schaette, R. and McAlpine, D. (2011). “Tinnitus with a normal audiogram: physiological evidence for hidden hearing loss and computational model,” J. Neurosci., 31, 13452-13457.
Sergeyenko, Y., Lall, K., Liberman, M.C., and Kujawa, S.G. (2013). “Age-related cochlear synaptopathy: an early-onset contributor to auditory functional decline,” J. Neurosci., 33, 13686-13694.
Siebert, W.M. (1970). “Frequency discrimination in the auditory system: place or periodicity mechanisms,” Proc. IEEE, 58, 723-730.
Tyler, R.S., Wood, E.J., and Fernandes, M.A. (1982). “Frequency resolution and hearing loss,” Brit. J. Audiol., 16, 45-63.
Viemeister, N.F. (1988). “Psychophysical aspects of auditory intensity coding,” in Auditory function. Eds. G.M. Edelman, W.E. Gall, and W.A. Cowan (Wiley, New York).
Wang, X., Lu, T., Bendor, D., and Bartlett, E. (2008). “Neural coding of temporal information in auditory thalamus and cortex,” Neuroscience, 157, 484-494.
Whiteford, K.L. and Oxenham, A.J. (2015). “Using individual differences to test the role of temporal and place cues in coding frequency modulation,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 138, 3093-3104.
Yin, T.C.T. and Chan, J.C.K. (1990). “Interaural time sensitivity in medial superior olive of cat,” J. Neurophysiol., 64, 465-488.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright* and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
*From the 2017 issue onward. The Danavox Jubilee Foundation owns the copyright of all articles published in the 1969-2015 issues. However, authors are still allowed to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.