Estimation of auditory steady-state responses based on the averaging of independent EEG epochs

Pavel Prado-Gutierrez, Eduardo Martínez-Montes, Alejandro Weinstein, Matías Zañartu

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The amplitude of auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs) generated in the brainstem of rats exponentially decreases over the sequential averaging of EEG epochs. This behavior is partially due to the adaptation of the ASSR induced by the continuous and monotonous stimulation. In this study, we analyzed the potential clinical relevance of the ASSR adaptation. ASSR were elicited in eight anesthetized adult rats by 8-kHz tones, modulated in amplitude at 115 Hz. We called independent epochs to those EEG epochs acquired with sufficiently long interstimulus interval, so the ASSR contained in any given epoch is not affected by the previous stimulation. We tested whether the detection of ASSRs is improved when the response is computed by averaging independent EEG epochs, containing only unadapted auditory responses. The improvements in the ASSR detection obtained with standard, weighted and sorted averaging were compared. In the absence of artifacts, when the ASSR was elicited by continuous acoustic stimulation, the computation of the ASSR amplitude relied upon the averaging method. While the adaptive behavior of the ASSR was still evident after the weighting of epochs, the sorted averaging resulted in under-estimations of the ASSR amplitude. In the absence of artifacts, the ASSR amplitudes computed by averaging independent epochs did not depend on the averaging procedure. Averaging independent epochs resulted in higher ASSR amplitudes and halved the number of EEG epochs needed to be acquired to achieve the maximum detection rate of the ASSR. Acquisition protocols based on averaging independent EEG epochs, in combination with appropriate averaging methods for artifact reduction might contribute to develop more accurate hearing assessments based on ASSRs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0206018
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


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