Effect of stimulus rise-time on the ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potential to bone-conducted vibration

Ann M Burgess, Laura E Mezey, Leonardo Manzari, Hamish G MacDougall, Leigh A McGarvie, Ian S Curthoys
Ear and Hearing 2013, 34 (6): 799-805

OBJECTIVES: The negative potential at 10 msec (called n10) of the ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP) recorded beneath the eyes in response to bone-conducted vibration (BCV) delivered to the skull at the midline in the hairline (Fz) is a new indicator of otolithic, and in particular utricular, function. Our aim is to find the optimum combination of frequency and rise-time for BCV stimulation, to improve the sensitivity of oVEMP testing in the clinic.

DESIGN: We tested 10 healthy subjects with 6 msec tone bursts of BCV at three stimulus frequencies, 250, 500, and 750 Hz, at rise-times ranging between 0 and 2 msec. The BCV was delivered at Fz.

RESULTS: The n10 response was significantly larger at the shorter rise-times, being largest at zero rise-time. In addition, we examined the effect of stimulus frequency in these same subjects by delivering 6 msec tone bursts at zero rise-time at a range of frequencies from 50 to 1200 Hz. The main effect of rise-time was significant with shorter rise-times leading to larger n10 responses and the Rise-Time × Frequency interaction was significant so that at low frequencies (100 Hz) shorter rise-times had a modest effect on n10 whereas at high frequencies (750 Hz) shorter rise-times increased n10 amplitude substantially. The main effect of frequency was also significant: The n10 response tended to be larger at lower frequency, being largest between 250 and 500 Hz.

CONCLUSIONS: In summary, in this sample of healthy subjects, the most effective stimulus for eliciting oVEMP n10 to BCV at Fz was found to be a tone burst with a rise-time of 0 msec at low stimulus frequency (250 or 500 Hz).

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