Principles of Neuroscience Lecture 9, Hearing Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Principles of Neuroscience Lecture 9, Hearing Deck (30)

Give a one sentence summary of auditory sensation

Sound waves transduced to nerve impulses


What is meant by impedence?

Degree to which a material or substance reflects acoustical energy


Describe the structure of the outer ear

Meatus : ear canal
Tympanic membrane


Describe the structure of the middle ear

The ossicles :


Describe the structure of the inner ear

The cochlea


Describe the structure of the cochlea

Like a snail shell.
At the basal end, there are two openings : the round and oval window.

The base of stapes presses onto the oval window.

The cochlea has 'tubes' running all the way along it.
The scala vestibuli and scala tympani are separated by the cochlear partition.
These two chambers filled with perilymph.

The organ of corti and the basilar membrane lies at the partition.

The organ of corti is made up of hair cells (inner and outer - three rows) and the tectorial membrane.
The hair cells have stereocilia and one larger kinocilium that project out into the scala media.
The stereocilia are arranged on the apical end of the cell in height order.
These stereocilia are bathed in endolymph

Primary afferents link up with the inner hair cells


Describe how the perilymph in the scalas vestibuli and tympani is continuous

There is a gap at the top of the cochlea where the perilymph mixes. This is called the helicotrema


Describe the differences of constitution of endo and perilymph and where each is located

Perilymph : in the scala vestibuli and tympani. K+ poor, Na+ rich

Endo lymph : in the scala media. K+ rich, Na+ poor.


Describe the process of sound transduction in the ear

Sound waves travel down the ear canal after being focused by the outer ear.
The tympanic membrane amplifies the waves and pressure, causing the ossicles to move.
This motion presses on the oval window, displacing the perilymph.

Standing waves cause the basilar membrane to vibrate.
The wide and stiff basal part resonates at higher frequencies, and the narrow, more flexible, part resonates at lower frequencies.
The vertical component of these vibrations displace the organ of corti.
The different anchor points of the basilar and tectorial membranes result in a sheering force on the stereocilia of the hair cells.

When the stereocilia are pulled towards the tallest stereocilium, ion channels open in at the apex of the membrane. Potassium from the endolymph floods in, depolarising the hair cell. This depolarisation then leads to the opening of voltage gated calcium channels.
Calcium rushes into the hair cell.

Calcium inside the cell causes vesicles containing neurotransmitter to fuse with the basal end of the membrane.
These neurotransmitters target the primary afferents of the auditory nerve.


What is meant by labelled line coding?

This refers to the tonotopic resonance of the basilar membrane.
Different regions resonate at different frequencies


Describe the path that auditory information takes

Inner hair cell
Primary afferent
Auditory nerve
Brain stem, synapse, crossing over --> bilateral
MSO and LSO in the brain stem
Thalamus : Medial Geniculate Nucleus
Auditory cortex on superior temporal gyrus
Primary (A1) and secondary


Describe the role of the MSO

The Medial Superior Olive
This is to do with the detection of the origin of sound
The time difference involved when sound originates closer to one ear is important.

The MSO has the greatest response when the information from both the right and left ear reaches the relevant area in the MSO at the same time.

The neurons from the ear that is closer to the source must travel a longer path to get to the relevant region in the MSO


Describe the role of the LSO

Interaural intensity differences locating the position of sound

When sounds of certain frequencies are localised to one side of the head, their wavelengths aren't long enough to bend round the head.
The head acts as an auditory shadow.

Activation of the LSO on one side of the brain stem results in the inhibition of the LSO on the other side.
In this way, we can detect the localisation of sound.


Describe the location of the basilar, tympanic and tectorial membranes

Basilar: cochlea
Tympanic : outer ear
Tectorial: above the hair cells in the organ of corti


What is the name of the auditory centre in the thalamus?

Medial Geniculate complex


Which cells in the organ of corti are afferent, ie deliver information to the brain?

The inner hair cells


Describe the functional organisation in the primary auditory cortex

Tonotopic : the regions are devoted to sounds of different frequencies.

When the secondary auditory cortex receives information from A1, it is more diffuse and less tonotopically organised.


What three aspects of sound waves are encoded by the inner hair cells?

1. Wavelength: pitch
2. Amplitude: loudness
3. Waveform: timbre


What is the role of the outer hair cells?

These are efferents from the brain. They control the tension of the basilar membrane of the organ of corti


Describe the arrangement of stereocilia on the surface of the organ of corti

By height


Shearing in which direction causes the K ion channels to open in the hair cells?

Shearing in the direction of the tallest stereocilium


What does 'coincidence detectors' relate to?

This relates to the localisation of sound by the medial superior olive


How does LSO output affect the detection of localisation of sound?

When the LSO on one side reacts more strongly, sound is coming from that end.
When they output the same amount, sound must be coming from directly in front of you


Which end of the Primary auditory cortex has information from the base of the cochlea?

The right hand side (flipped)


What is the difference between the two primary auditory cortices on either hemisphere?
For example?

They both receive information from both ears. However, each side does different stuff with the information

Speech on LHS
Music on RHS


Wavelength corresponds to...



Amplitude corresponds to...



Waveform corresponds to...

Tone, timbre


Sound is coming from one's left hand side

The left LSO is (more/less) excited



Describe inhibition between the left and right LSOs

When the left LSO is excited by sound coming from the left hand side, it inhibits the right hand side LSO

This gives us positional information about the source of the sound

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