Cortical Processing Related to Intensity of a Modulated Noise Stimulus-a Functional Near-Infrared Study.

Weder, Stefan; Zhou, Xin; Shoushtarian, Mehrnaz; Innes-Brown, Hamish; McKay, Colette (2018). Cortical Processing Related to Intensity of a Modulated Noise Stimulus-a Functional Near-Infrared Study. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology JARO, 19(3), pp. 273-286. Springer 10.1007/s10162-018-0661-0

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Sound intensity is a key feature of auditory signals. A profound understanding of cortical processing of this feature is therefore highly desirable. This study investigates whether cortical functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) signals reflect sound intensity changes and where on the brain cortex maximal intensity-dependent activations are located. The fNIRS technique is particularly suitable for this kind of hearing study, as it runs silently. Twenty-three normal hearing subjects were included and actively participated in a counterbalanced block design task. Four intensity levels of a modulated noise stimulus with long-term spectrum and modulation characteristics similar to speech were applied, evenly spaced from 15 to 90 dB SPL. Signals from auditory processing cortical fields were derived from a montage of 16 optodes on each side of the head. Results showed that fNIRS responses originating from auditory processing areas are highly dependent on sound intensity level: higher stimulation levels led to higher concentration changes. Caudal and rostral channels showed different waveform morphologies, reflecting specific cortical signal processing of the stimulus. Channels overlying the supramarginal and caudal superior temporal gyrus evoked a phasic response, whereas channels over Broca's area showed a broad tonic pattern. This data set can serve as a foundation for future auditory fNIRS research to develop the technique as a hearing assessment tool in the normal hearing and hearing-impaired populations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)

UniBE Contributor:

Weder, Stefan


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stefan Weder

Date Deposited:

23 Jan 2019 15:19

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 10:49

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

cortical responses fNIRS normal hearing listeners sound intensity




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