Semin Hear 2004; 25(1): 39-49
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-823046
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Electrophysiological Evidence for Binaural Processing in Auditory Evoked Potentials: The Binaural Interaction Component

Cynthia G. Fowler1
  • 1Professor, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Tribute to Tom Tillman When I think back on Tom Tillman as I knew him at Northwestern University, I do so with admiration and respect. He was a clinician, a scholar, a scientist, and a teacher, with a rare breadth of knowledge and historical appreciation of the field of audiology. He participated in the early development of audiology, specializing in speech perception and masking, and closed his career working with cochlear implants. Somewhere in the middle, he served on my doctoral committee, contributing his perspective on the developing field of auditory evoked potentials and its relation to auditory perception. So, in contributing the present manuscript to this issue of Seminars dedicated to Tom Tillman, I am hoping that he would have appreciated the fact that I still believe that perceptual processes can be tapped with electrophysiological responses.
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02. April 2004 (online)

The binaural interaction components (BIC) of the auditory brainstem response (ABR), auditory middle latency response (AMLR), and auditory late latency response (ALLR) are representations of binaural processing throughout the auditory system. The present article reviews the characteristics of the BIC with respect to binaural psychophysical phenomena, development, and aging, and explores its clinical application. The BIC correlates well with gross psychophysical measures of binaural processing. In the ABR, the BIC is consistent with a percept of binaural fusion; additional factors may contribute to the BIC in later responses. The BIC is not completely mature at birth and tends to decline in later years of life. Promising clinical applications are the measurement of maturation of binaural processing, and identification of pathology of the binaural system. Further research is needed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio before the BIC can be used clinically for diagnostic assessment.


Cynthia G Fowler, Ph.D. 

Department of Communicative Disorders

1975 Willow Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706