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Auditory 2. • Auditory nerve fibers project to the cochlear nucleus, where each fiber splits and goes to each division of the cochlear nucleus (DCN, AVCN, PVCN ). At each step up to the auditory cortex, the tonotopic map is preserved. .

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  • The where each fiber splits and goes to each division of the cochlear nucleus (DCN, AVCN, PVCNcochlear nucleus is the last place in the auditory system where info from each ear is segregated.

  • The system has lots of commissures and decussations that allow for communication between the two sides.


  • • Most other sensory modalities just have a receptors, primary afferent neurons, a primary nucleus, projections to the thalamus and then projections to the cortex.

  • The auditory system goes from the primary nucleus (cochlear nucleus) to the superior olive, and also to the inferior colliculus before heading to the thalamus.

  • These two extra centers accommodate the complexity required for sound localization.




  • • The cues for sound localization are the to mostly the first Interaural Time Difference (ITD) with the associated interaural phase difference, and the Interaural Level Difference (ILD).

  • ITD is due to the pathlength differences to each ear for a sound coming from one side.

  • These differences are tiny, so require very high time resolution.

  • ILD is due to the head casting an acoustic shadow on the ear farther from the source.



  • Each to mostly the first Lateral Superior Olive (LSO) gets excitatory input from the ipsilateral cochlear nucleus bushy cells, whereas it gets inhibitory input via an MNTB interneuron from the contralateral cochlear nucleus bushy cells.



  • But in phase with the stimulus waveform, called phase locking. , from the left cochlea it has to travel farther to get to the right MSO.

  • Basically, the time difference it takes for the extra length the AP has to travel across the midline off sets the extra time it takes sound to reach the more distant ear.

  • So, the signals from each side should arrive at the MSOs on the side the sound comes from at around the same time.




  • • Bushy cell (in cochlear nucleus) specializations: closely the two inputs occur in Endbulb synapses with the incoming auditory nerve fibers are huge, so when it gets input signals, it sends APs reliably.

  • They also have a fast membrane time constant, so little temporal summation occurs.


  • • The LSO gets excitatory input closely the two inputs occur in ispilaterally and inhibitory input contralaterally.

  • It responds to differences in sound intensity between the ears by detecting the balance of excitation/inhibition in each LSO.



  • • Spectral cues produced by the external ear resolve this a cone for which these values will be the ambiguity.

  • The pinna reflects the sound and attenuates different frequencies based on where the sound came from along the vertical axis.

  • The reflections have different pathlengths from the directly incoming sound, and the time delay produces interference that varies with frequency.



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