The healthy ear is able to detect and identify signals in a noisy environment better than any manmade algorithm or system. However, mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss causes significant difficulty for listeners in noisy environments. We are combining behavioral, physiological, and computational-modeling approaches to study neural processing of complex sounds. The efforts of recent years have focused on masking, and results from all three approaches have led to the development of a cross-frequency coincidence-detection model of masked detection at low frequencies. We refer to this model as the phase-opponency model - it takes advantage of the relative times of discharge of AN fibers tuned to different frequencies. This model provides a physiologically realistic alternative to the classical power-spectrum (or """"""""energy"""""""") model for masking and resolves fundamental problems associated with that model. We propose to test hypotheses, suggested by the phase-opponency model regarding masked detection of tones in noise at low frequencies and to extend our studies to high frequencies and to other masking paradigms. Throughout these studies, we will continue to combine behavioral experiments in human and rabbit, physiological recordings in awake rabbit and anesthetized gerbil, and computational modeling. We will also continue to use modeling tools developed during the last few years that not only capture the detailed properties of healthy and impaired auditory-nerve fibers and central auditory neurons, but that also allow quantitative comparison of performance predicted on the basis of population models to actual measurements of behavioral performance. The long-term goal of this effort is to provide novel signal-processing strategies to aid the hearing impaired, based on the unique neural strategies for processing signals in noise.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-6 (01))
Program Officer
Luethke, Lynn E
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Syracuse University
Schools of Engineering
United States
Zip Code
Carney, Laurel H (2018) Supra-Threshold Hearing and Fluctuation Profiles: Implications for Sensorineural and Hidden Hearing Loss. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 19:331-352
Carney, Laurel H; McDonough, Joyce M (2018) Nonlinear auditory models yield new insights into representations of vowels. Atten Percept Psychophys :
Henry, Kenneth S; Amburgey, Kassidy N; Abrams, Kristina S et al. (2017) Formant-frequency discrimination of synthesized vowels in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) and humans. J Acoust Soc Am 142:2073
Henry, Kenneth S; Abrams, Kristina S; Forst, Johanna et al. (2017) Midbrain Synchrony to Envelope Structure Supports Behavioral Sensitivity to Single-Formant Vowel-Like Sounds in Noise. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 18:165-181
Abdolrahmani ?, Mohammad; Doi, Takahiro; Shiozaki, Hiroshi M et al. (2016) Pooled, but not single-neuron, responses in macaque V4 represent a solution to the stereo correspondence problem. J Neurophysiol 115:1917-31
Henry, Kenneth S; Neilans, Erikson G; Abrams, Kristina S et al. (2016) Neural correlates of behavioral amplitude modulation sensitivity in the budgerigar midbrain. J Neurophysiol 115:1905-16
Carney, Laurel H; Li, Tianhao; McDonough, Joyce M (2015) Speech Coding in the Brain: Representation of Vowel Formants by Midbrain Neurons Tuned to Sound Fluctuations eNeuro 2:
Carney, Laurel H; Zilany, Muhammad S A; Huang, Nicholas J et al. (2014) Suboptimal use of neural information in a mammalian auditory system. J Neurosci 34:1306-13
Zilany, Muhammad S A; Bruce, Ian C; Carney, Laurel H (2014) Updated parameters and expanded simulation options for a model of the auditory periphery. J Acoust Soc Am 135:283-6
Carney, Laurel H; Ketterer, Angela D; Abrams, Kristina S et al. (2013) Detection thresholds for amplitude modulations of tones in budgerigar, rabbit, and human. Adv Exp Med Biol 787:391-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 36 publications