Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology vol:8 issue:1 pages:84-104
A phenomenological dual-process model of the electrically stimulated human auditory nerve is presented and compared to threshold and loudness data from cochlear implant users. The auditory nerve is modeled as two parallel processes derived from linearized equations of conductance-based models. The first process is an integrator, which dominates stimulation for short-phase duration biphasic pulses and high-frequency sinusoidal stimuli. It has a relatively short time constant (0.094 ms) arising from the passive properties of the membrane. The second process is a resonator, which induces nonmonotonic functions of threshold vs frequency with minima around 80 Hz. The ion channel responsible for this trend has a relatively large relaxation time constant of about 1 ms. Membrane noise is modeled as a Gaussian noise, and loudness sensation is assumed to relate to the probability of firing of a neuron during a 20-ms rectangular window. Experimental psychophysical results obtained in seven previously published studies can be interpreted with this model. The model also provides a physiologically based account of the nonmonotonic threshold vs frequency functions observed in biphasic and sinusoidal stimulation, the large threshold decrease obtained with biphasic pulses having a relatively long inter-phase gap and the effects of asymmetric pulses.