We report a technique for activating the efferent nerve fibres to the cochlea by electrical stimulation at the round window. Such electrical stimulation caused a reduction in the amplitude of the gross nerve response (N1) to a click presented after the electrical stimulus but did not alter the latency of the response. The reduction increased with increasing current strength above 200 μA and increasing rate of electrical pulses above 50 Hz. The effect was also dependent on the duration of the shock train and the pulse width. The reduction in N1 was most pronounced at low click intensities. Recovery of the N1 was almost complete about 80 ms after the end of the electrical stimulus. The effect of electrical stimulation in reducing the N1 amplitude could almost always be blocked by intraperitoneal injections of strychnine. Recovery from the strychnine block was observed when animals were maintained for periods of more than 60 min after the administration of strychnine. The ease of this technique allows it to be used to examine the effects of efferent stimulation on various aspects of cochlear function in the guinea pig.
- electrical stimulation
- round window