Mar 30, 2020

Subcortical sources drive the relation between frequency-following responses (FFRs) and speech-in-noise perception

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Artem KaznatcheevDavid Basanta


The frequency-following response (FFR) is a scalp-recorded potential reflecting a mixture of phase-locked neural activity generated from several nuclei along the auditory pathway. FFRs have been widely used as a neural barometer of complex listening skills especially performance on speech-in noise (SIN) tasks: across listeners with various hearing profiles and ages, more robust speech-evoked FFRs are associated with improved SIN perception. Applying individually optimized source reconstruction to speech-FFRs recorded via EEG (FFREEG), we assessed the relative contributions of subcortical [auditory nerve (AN), brainstem (BS)] and cortical [bilateral primary auditory cortex, PAC] generators to the scalp response with the aim of identifying which source(s) drives the brain-behavior relation between FFRs and perceptual SIN skills. We found FFR strength declined precipitously from AN to PAC, consistent with the roll-off of phase-locking at progressively higher stages of the auditory neuroaxis. FFRs at the speech fundamental frequency (F0) were resistant to moderate noise interference across all sources, but FFRs were largest in BS relative to all other sources (BS > AN >> PAC). Cortical PAC FFRs were only weakly observed above the n...Continue Reading

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