The mammalian brain is connected to the ear through corticofugal pathways. These neural circuits link non-auditory regions of the cerebral cortex like frontal and visual areas with the auditory cortex or the inferior colliculus, which send descending pathways that reach the cochlear receptor through olivocochlear neurons. Recent evidence has demonstrated that top-down circuits are functional and relevant for behavior and cognition. For instance, the corticofugal modulation of peripheral auditory responses aids in ignoring irrelevant stimuli during selective attention. The neural mechanisms involved in these modulations include sensory gain control and oscillatory changes of neural and cochlear activity. Whether these corticofugal effects are a general mechanism to filter auditory responses during cognitive and emotional processes remains to be confirmed.