Psychoacoustic and electrophysiologic correlates of central hearing disorders in man

  • Michael Scherg
  • Detlev von Cramon


Evaluation of central hearing disorders in neuropsychologic patients is handicapped by their insufficient ability to describe auditory deficits and by the lack of easily applicable audiological tests. A novel psychoacoustic discrimination test (PDT) was developed to determine ear asymmetries in the discrimination of changes in intensity, frequency, or temporal structure of regularly presented dichotic stimuli. In 19 of 21 patients with lesions of the auditory cortex or the acoustic radiation according to CT scan evaluation a higher error score was observed for target stimuli presented at the ear contralateral to the side of brain infarction (6 right, 15 left). In the remaining 2 and in 3 other patients with lesions sparing auditory structures no significant ear asymmetries were seen. This may indicate that auditory perception is reduced in patients with only one intact auditory cortex or one intact acoustic radiation, possibly because of a limitation in information processing capacity. Auditory evoked potential results are presented for a normal subject and two patients to illustrate electrophysiologic correlates of central hearing disorders. Using a transformation of scalp into dipole source activity (Scherg and von Cramon 1986), a unilateral loss of middle latency activity was found in case A, who had a lesion of the left acoustic radiation. The extended lesion of the right auditory cortex in case B resulted in a loss of both middle and late latency dipole source potentials of the right temporal lobe. In both cases a corresponding increase in the PDT error score on the contralateral ear was found.

Key words

Auditory cortex Psychoacoustics Auditory evoked potentials Dipole source potentials Central hearing disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Scherg
    • 1
  • Detlev von Cramon
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropsychologische AbteilungMax-Planck-Institut für PsychiatrieMünchen 40Germany

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