Brainstem encoding of speech and music sounds in humans

Nina Kraus*, Trent Nicol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The encoding of speech and music in the auditory brainstem is available at the human scalp via the auditory-evoked frequency following response. The FFR, primarily reflecting activity in the inferior colliculus, may be evoked by speech or music stimulation and represents the combined activity of sensorimotor, cognitive, and reward centers in the brain. Its response properties, like the inferior colliculus itself, are influenced by long-term experience with sound. The transparency, individual-level reliability, and ability to gauge neural plasticity provide the researcher and clinician a powerful probe of auditory processing in the human brainstem. With it, we have learned a great deal about how mechanisms of decline, deprivation, and enrichment affect the processing of complex signals such as music and speech in the human brainstem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Auditory Brainstem
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780190849061
StatePublished - Apr 5 2018


  • Auditory processing
  • Encoding
  • Frequency following response
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Music
  • Neural plasticity
  • Speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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