November 28, 2020

Deconvolution of ears’ activity (DEA): A new experimental paradigm to investigate central auditory processing.

A novel experimental paradigm, deconvolution of ears activity (DEA), is presented which allows to disentangle overlapping neural activity from both auditory cortices when two auditory stimuli are presented closely together in time in each ear. Pairs of multi-tone complexes were presented either binaurally, or sequentially by alternating presentation order in each ear (i.e., first tone complex of the pair presented to one ear and second tone complex to the other ear), using stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) shorter than the neural response length. This timing strategy creates overlapping responses, which can be mathematically separated using least-squares deconvolution. The DEA paradigm allowed the evaluation of the neural representation in the auditory cortex of responses to stimuli presented at syllabic rates (i.e., SOAs between 120 and 260 ms). Analysis of the neuromagnetic responses in each cortex offered a sensitive technique to study hemispheric lateralization, ear representation (right versus left), pathway advantage (contra- versus ipsi-lateral) and cortical binaural interaction. To provide a proof-of-concept of the DEA paradigm, data was recorded from three normal-hearing adults. Results showed good test-retest reliability, and indicated that the difference score between hemispheres can potentially be used to assess central auditory processing. This suggests that the method could be a potentially valuable tool for generating an objective auditory profile by assessing individual fine-grained auditory processing using a non-invasive recording method.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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