The auditory nerve overlapped waveform (ANOW) originates in the cochlear apex

J. T. Lichtenhan, J. J. Hartsock, R. M. Gill, J. J. Guinan, A. N. Salt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Measurements of cochlear function with compound action potentials (CAPs), auditory brainstem responses, and otoacoustic emissions work well with high-frequency sounds but are problematic at low frequencies. We have recently shown that the auditory nerve overlapped waveform (ANOW) can objectively quantify low-frequency (<1 kHz) auditory sensitivity, as thresholds for ANOW at low frequencies and for CAP at high frequencies relate similarly to single auditory nerve fiber thresholds. This favorable relationship, however, does not necessarily mean that ANOW originates from auditory nerve fibers innervating low-frequency regions of the cochlear apex. In the present study, we recorded the cochlear response to tone bursts of low frequency (353, 500, and 707 Hz) and high frequency (2 to 16 kHz) during administration of tetrodotoxin (TTX) to block neural function. TTX was injected using a novel method of slow administration from a pipette sealed into the cochlear apex, allowing real-time measurements of systematic neural blocking from apex to base. The amplitude of phase-locked (ANOW) and onset (CAP) neural firing to moderate-level, low-frequency sounds were markedly suppressed before thresholds and responses to moderate-level, high-frequency sounds were affected. These results demonstrate that the ANOW originates from responses of auditory nerve fibers innervating cochlear apex, confirming that ANOW provides a valid physiological measure of low-frequency auditory nerve function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-411
Number of pages17
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Auditory nerve neurophonic
  • Compound action potential
  • Low-frequency hearing
  • Neural synchrony
  • Phase locking

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