Internally-generated sound stimulates cochlear nucleus units

Ricardo A. Velluti, JoséL L. Peña, Marisa Pedemonte, Peter M. Narins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The body generates many physiological sounds. One of the most prominent is that produced by the blood flowing inside the vessels with each heart beat. On the other hand, the cochlea is a very sensitive receptor with a low threshold. Given the anatomical close proximity of the carotid artery and other vessels to the inner ear, the possibility of its being stimulated is very high. Cochlear nucleus spontaneous as well sound-responding auditory units were studied. A close relationship between the heart beat, that is the blood flow, and the cochlear nucleus firing was demonstrated, in anesthetized and awake guinea-pigs. Temporary mechanical interruption of the blood flow through the ipsilateral carotid artery abolished firing increments at the cochlear nucleus time-locked to the heart beat. We conclude that one component of the so called 'spontaneous' firing in the auditory system is actually evoked activity due to normal body -generated sounds or noises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-22
Number of pages4
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid occlusion
  • Cochlear nucleus
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Internal sounds
  • Spontaneous activity
  • Wakefulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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