Neurophysiology of cochlear implant users I: Effects of stimulus current level and electrode site on the electrical ABR, MLR, and N1-P2 response

Jill B. Firszt*, Ron D. Chambers, Nina Kraus, Ruth M. Reeder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Objective: As the need for objective measures with cochlear implant users increases, it is critical to understand how electrical potentials behave when stimulus parameters are systematically varied. The purpose of this study was to record and evaluate the effects of implanted electrode site and stimulus current level on latency, amplitude, and threshold measures of electrically evoked auditory potentials, representing brainstem and cortical levels of the auditory system. Design: The electrical auditory brainstem response (EABR), electrical auditory middle latency response (EAMLR), and the electrical late auditory response (ELAR) were recorded from the same experimental subjects, 11 adult Clarion cochlear implant users. The Waves II, III, and V of the EABR, the Na-Pa complex of the EAMLR and the N1-P2 complex of the ELAR were investigated relative to electrode site (along the intra-cochlear electrode array) and stimulus current level. Evoked potential measures were examined for statistical significance using analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures. Results: For the EABR, Wave V latency was significantly longer for the basal electrode (7) compared with the mid (4) and apical (1) electrodes. For the EAMLR and ELAR, there were no significant differences in latency by electrode site. For all subjects and each of the evoked potentials, the apical electrodes tended to have the largest amplitude and the basal electrodes the smallest amplitude, although amplitude differences did not reach statistical significance. In general, decreases in stimulus current level resulted in statistically significant decreases in the amplitude of Wave V, Na-Pa and N1-P2. The evoked potential thresholds for Wave V, Na-Pa, and N1-P2 were significantly higher for the basal Electrode 7 than for Electrodes 4 and 1. Conclusions: Electrophysiologic responses of Waves II, III, and V of the EABR, Na-Pa of the EAMLR, and N1-P2 of the ELAR were characterized as functions of current level and electrode site. Data from this study may serve as a normative reference for expected latency, amplitude and threshold values for the recording of electrically evoked auditory brain-stem and cortical potentials. Responses recorded from cochlear implant users show many similar patterns, yet important distinctions, compared with auditory potentials elicited with acoustic signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-515
Number of pages14
JournalEar and hearing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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