Consequences of neural asynchrony: A case of auditory neuropathy
Abstract The neural representation of sensory events depends upon neural synchrony. Auditory neuropathy, a disorder of stimulus-timing-related neural synchrony, provides a model for studying the role of synchrony in auditory perception. This article presents electrophysiological and behavioral data from a rare case of auditory neuropathy in a woman with normal hearing thresholds, making it possible to separate audibility from neuropathy. The experimental results, which encompass a wide range of auditory perceptual abilities and neurophysiologic responses to sound, provide new information linking neural synchrony with auditory perception. Findings illustrate that optimal eighth nerve and auditory brainstem synchrony do not appear to be essential for understanding speech in quiet listening situations. However, synchrony is critical for understanding speech in the presence of noise.