Auditory and audio-visual processing in patients with cochlear, auditory brainstem, and auditory midbrain implants: an EEG study

Irina Schierholz, Mareike Finke, Andrej Kral, Andreas Büchner, Stefan Rach, Thomas Lenarz, Reinhard Dengler, Pascale Sandmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


There is substantial variability in speech recognition ability across patients with cochlear implants (CIs), auditory brainstem implants (ABIs), and auditory midbrain implants (AMIs). To better understand how this variability is related to central processing differences, the current electroencephalography (EEG) study compared hearing abilities and auditory-cortex activation in patients with electrical stimulation at different sites of the auditory pathway. Three different groups of patients with auditory implants (Hannover Medical School; ABI: n = 6, CI: n = 6; AMI: n = 2) performed a speeded response task and a speech recognition test with auditory, visual, and audio-visual stimuli. Behavioral performance and cortical processing of auditory and audio-visual stimuli were compared between groups. ABI and AMI patients showed prolonged response times on auditory and audio-visual stimuli compared with NH listeners and CI patients. This was confirmed by prolonged N1 latencies and reduced N1 amplitudes in ABI and AMI patients. However, patients with central auditory implants showed a remarkable gain in performance when visual and auditory input was combined, in both speech and non-speech conditions, which was reflected by a strong visual modulation of auditory-cortex activation in these individuals. In sum, the results suggest that the behavioral improvement for audio-visual conditions in central auditory implant patients is based on enhanced audio-visual interactions in the auditory cortex. Their findings may provide important implications for the optimization of electrical stimulation and rehabilitation strategies in patients with central auditory prostheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2206-2225
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • auditory brainstem implant
  • auditory midbrain implant
  • cochlear implant
  • event-related potentials
  • auditory cortex
  • audio–visual interactions
  • auditory rehabilitation


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