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Partial deafness - mapping tonotopy in the primary auditory cortex
Ciesla K.J. , Wolak T. , Lewandowska M. , Rusiniak M. , Pluta A. , Skarżyński P.H.
, Lorens A. , Skarżyński
Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, World Hearing Center, Warsaw, Poland, 2Institute of Sensory Organs, Kajetany, Poland,
Kajetany, Poland, 3Medical University of Warsaw, Ophthalmic Diagnostics and Rehabilitation and Sensory Organs Department, Warsaw,
Introduction: Partial deafness (PD), with characteristic profoundly impaired processing of high frequency
sounds is a common type of hearing loss. One treatment option is cochlear implantation. The solution provides
good but variable auditory outcomes in PD patients. Pre-operative fMRI brain activation studies can serve to
assess the specific tonotopic organization of the primary auditory cortex (PAC) in patients.
Materials and methods: Fourteen patients with bilateral symmetrical partial deafness (7F,7M, mean age 35
years ± 9 mths) participated in an auditory fMRI study. Average hearing loss in the following frequency bands:
125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000Hz was approximately 25, 30, 40, 60, 80, 90, 100dB HL, respectively. The
study was performed at a Siemens 3T MRI MAGNETOM Trio scanner. The paradigm was described in Ciesla et
al. Tonotopic organization of the primary auditory cortex. SPM12b and Brain Voyager QX were used for data
analysis. Two methodologies showed both SPM t-maps representing the primary auditory cortex engagement
directly, as well as scaled PAC maps (t≥4, p< 0.05 FWE). In addition, patients performed tests assessing their
psychological performance and life quality. Behavioural tests were also administered to a matched healthy
Results: Patients showed unique tonotopic maps in the primary cortex. They were divided into sub-groups
reflecting their audiological profiles and brain response patterns (see Figure 1. showing one sub-group brain
responses to 400,800, and 1600Hz, normalised t-values ). The effects of deprivation-related auditory plastic
reorganization were visible. Among others, behavioral assessments revealed slightly elevated depressive and
anxiety symptoms in patients and less active coping strategies.