Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 361, Issue 1, pp 233–250 | Cite as

Listening to another sense: somatosensory integration in the auditory system

  • Calvin Wu
  • Roxana A. Stefanescu
  • David T. Martel
  • Susan E. Shore


Conventionally, sensory systems are viewed as separate entities, each with its own physiological process serving a different purpose. However, many functions require integrative inputs from multiple sensory systems and sensory intersection and convergence occur throughout the central nervous system. The neural processes for hearing perception undergo significant modulation by the two other major sensory systems, vision and somatosensation. This synthesis occurs at every level of the ascending auditory pathway: the cochlear nucleus, inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body and the auditory cortex. In this review, we explore the process of multisensory integration from (1) anatomical (inputs and connections), (2) physiological (cellular responses), (3) functional and (4) pathological aspects. We focus on the convergence between auditory and somatosensory inputs in each ascending auditory station. This review highlights the intricacy of sensory processing and offers a multisensory perspective regarding the understanding of sensory disorders.


Auditory Multisensory Somatosensory Tinnitus Auditory pathway 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Calvin Wu
    • 1
  • Roxana A. Stefanescu
    • 1
  • David T. Martel
    • 1
    • 3
  • Susan E. Shore
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Kresge Hearing Research InstituteUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular and integrative PhysiologyAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringAnn ArborUSA

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