Oscillatory infrasonic modulation of the cochlear amplifier by selective attention


Evidence shows that selective attention to visual stimuli modulates the gain of cochlear responses, probably through auditory-cortex descending pathways. At the cerebral cortex level, amplitude and phase changes of neural oscillations have been proposed as a correlate of selective attention. However, whether sensory receptors are also influenced by the oscillatory network during attention tasks remains unknown. Here, we searched for oscillatory attention-related activity at the cochlear receptor level in humans. We used an alternating visual/auditory selective attention task and measured electroencephalographic activity simultaneously to distortion product otoacoustic emissions (a measure of cochlear receptor-cell activity). In order to search for cochlear oscillatory activity, the otoacoustic emission signal, was included as an additional channel in the electroencephalogram analyses. This method allowed us to evaluate dynamic changes in cochlear oscillations within the same range of frequencies (1–35 Hz) in which cognitive effects are commonly observed in electroencephalogram works. We found the presence of low frequency (<10 Hz) brain and cochlear amplifier oscillations during selective attention to visual and auditory stimuli. Notably, switching between auditory and visual attention modulates the amplitude and the temporal order of brain and inner ear oscillations. These results extend the role of the oscillatory activity network during cognition in neural systems to the receptor level.

Constantino D Dragicevic, Bruno Marcenaro, Marcela Navarrete, Luis Robles, Paul H Delano

Plos One

enero 07, 2020

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208939

Investigador BNI: Paul Délano