Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 6, pp 1479–1491 | Cite as

Modeling the effects of medial olivocochlear efferent stimulation at the level of the inferior colliculus

  • T. J. M. Kwan
  • M. S. A. Zilany
  • E. Davies-Venn
  • Ahmad Khairi Abdul WahabEmail author
Research Article


Various studies on medial olivocochlear (MOC) efferents have implicated it in multiple roles in the auditory system (e.g., dynamic range adaptation, masking reduction, and selective attention). This study presents a systematic simulation of inferior colliculus (IC) responses with and without electrical stimulation of the MOC. Phenomenological models of the responses of auditory nerve (AN) fibers and IC neurons were used to this end. The simulated responses were highly consistent with physiological data (replicated 3 of the 4 known rate-level responses all MOC effects—shifts, high stimulus level reduction and enhancement). Complex MOC efferent effects which were previously thought to require integration from different characteristic frequency (CF) neurons were simulated using the same frequency inhibition excitation circuitry. MOC-induced enhancing effects were found only in neurons with a CF range from 750 Hz to 2 kHz. This limited effect is indicative of the role of MOC activation on the AN responses at the stimulus offset.


Auditory nerve model Computational modeling Efferent MOC IC 



This research was supported by University Malaya Research Grants (UMRG) RP016B-13AET and RP006-13ICT from the Institute of Research Management & Monitoring (IPPP) University of Malaya as well as the Research University Grant (RU Faculty) GPF039A-2018 from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya. We would also like to acknowledge the insightful comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers in the preparation of this manuscript. 


  1. Brown GJ, Ferry RT, Meddis R (2010) A computer model of auditory efferent suppression: implications for the recognition of speech in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 127:943–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruce IC, Sachs MB, Young ED (2003) An auditory-periphery model of the effects of acoustic trauma on auditory nerve responses. J Acoust Soc Am 113:369–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carney LH (1993) A model for the responses of low-frequency auditory-nerve fibers in cat. J Acoust Soc Am 93:401–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carney LH, Li T, McDonough JM (2015) Speech coding in the brain: representation of vowel formants by midbrain neurons tuned to sound fluctuations. eNeuro. Google Scholar
  5. Chintanpalli A, Jennings SG, Heinz MG, Strickland EA (2012) Modeling the anti-masking effects of the olivocochlear reflex in auditory nerve responses to tones in sustained noise. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 13:219–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fant G (1973) Speech sounds and features. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferry RT, Meddis R (2007) A computer model of medial efferent suppression in the mammalian auditory system. J Acoust Soc Am 122:3519–3526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Greenwood DD (1990) A cochlear frequency-position function for several species—29 years later. J Acoust Soc Am 87:2592–2605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guinan JJ (2006) Olivocochlear efferents: anatomy, physiology, function, and the measurement of efferent effects in humans. Ear Hearing 27:589–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Guinan JJ, Gifford ML (1988) Effects of electrical-stimulation of efferent olivocochlear neurons on cat auditory-nerve fibers. 1. Rate-level functions. Hear Res 33:97–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Guinan JJ, Warr WB, Norris BE (1984) Topographic organization of the olivocochlear projections from the lateral and medial zones of the superior olivary complex. J Comp Neurol 226:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guinan JJ, Lin T, Cheng H, Cooper NP (2006) Medial Olivocochlear efferent effects on basilar-membrane and auditory-nerve responses to clicks: evidence for a new motion within the cochlea. In: Nuttall AL, Ren T, Gillespie P, Grosh K, de Boer E (eds)Auditory mechanisms: processes and models. World Scientific, Singapore, pp 3–16. Google Scholar
  13. Ibrahim RA, Bruce IC (2010) Effects of peripheral tuning on the auditory nerve’s representation of speech envelope and temporal fine structure cues. In: Lopez-Poveda E, Palmer A, Meddis R (eds) The neurophysiological bases of auditory perception. Springer, Berlin, pp 429–438  CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jennings SG, Heinz MG, Strickland EA (2011) Evaluating adaptation and olivocochlear efferent feedback as potential explanations of psychophysical overshoot. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 12:345–360. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Krishna BS, Semple MN (2000) Auditory temporal processing: responses to sinusoidally amplitude-modulated tones in the inferior colliculus. J Neurophysiol 84:255–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liberman MC, Dodds LW, Pierce S (1990) Afferent and efferent innervation of the cat cochlea: quantitative analysis with light and electron microscopy. J Comp Neurol 301:443–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mao JW, Carney LH (2015) Tone-in-noise detection using envelope cues: comparison of signal-processing-based and physiological models. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 16:121–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nelson PC, Carney LH (2004) A phenomenological model of peripheral and central neural responses to amplitude-modulated tones. J Acoust Soc Am 116:2173–2186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nelson PC, Carney LH (2007) Neural rate and timing cues for detection and discrimination of amplitude-modulated tones in the awake rabbit inferior colliculus. J Neurophysiol 97:522–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pascal J, Bourgeade A, Lagier M, Legros C (1998) Linear and nonlinear model of the human middle ear. J Acoust Soc Am 104:1509–1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rees A, Palmer AR (1988) Rate-intensity functions and their modification by broadband noise for neurons in the guinea pig inferior colliculus. J Acoust Soc Am 83:1488–1498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Salimi N, Zilany MSA, Carney LH (2017) Modeling responses in the superior paraolivary nucleus: implications for forward masking in the inferior colliculus. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 18(3):441–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Seluakumaran K, Mulders WHAM, Robertson D (2008) Effects of medial olivocochlear efferent stimulation on the activity of neurons in the auditory midbrain. Exp Brain Res 186:161–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shera CA, Guinan JJ, Oxenham AJ (2002) Revised estimates of human cochlear tuning from otoacoustic and behavioral measurements. Proc Natl Acad Sci 99:3318–3323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Smalt CJ, Heinz MG, Strickland EA (2014) Modeling the time-varying and level-dependent effects of the medial olivocochlear reflex in auditory nerve responses. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 15:159–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Warr WB, Guinan JJ (1979) Efferent innervation of the organ of Corti: two separate systems. Brain Res 173:152–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Watkins PV, Barbour DL (2011) Level-tuned neurons in primary auditory cortex adapt differently to loud versus soft sounds. Cereb Cortex 21:178–190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wiederhold M, Kiang N (1970) Effects of electric stimulation of the crossed olivocochlear bundle on single auditory-nerve fibers in the cat. J Acoust Soc Am 48:950–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zhang X, Heinz MG, Bruce IC, Carney LH (2001) A phenomenological model for the responses of auditory-nerve fibers: I. Nonlinear tuning with compression and suppression. J Acoust Soc Am 109:648–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zilany MSA, Bruce IC (2006) Modeling auditory-nerve responses for high sound pressure levels in the normal and impaired auditory periphery. J Acoust Soc Am 120:1446–1466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zilany MSA, Bruce IC (2007) Representation of the vowel (epsilon) in normal and impaired auditory nerve fibers: model predictions of responses in cats. J Acoust Soc Am 122:402–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zilany MSA, Bruce IC, Nelson PC, Carney LH (2009) A phenomenological model of the synapse between the inner hair cell and auditory nerve: long-term adaptation with power-law dynamics. J Acoust Soc Am 126:2390–2412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zilany MSA, Bruce IC, Carney LH (2014) Updated parameters and expanded simulation options for a model of the auditory periphery. J Acoust Soc Am 135:283–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. J. M. Kwan
    • 1
  • M. S. A. Zilany
    • 2
  • E. Davies-Venn
    • 3
  • Ahmad Khairi Abdul Wahab
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Electrical and Computer Engineering ProgramTexas A&M University at QatarDohaQatar
  3. 3.Department of Speech-Language-Hearing SciencesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations