An fMRI-study on single-sided deafness: Spectral-temporal properties and side of stimulation modulates hemispheric dominance
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective: Our main aim was to investigate the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response to monaural and binaural speech- and non-speech stimuli as measured with fMRI in subjects with single-sided deafness and in normal hearing controls. We hypothesised that the response to monaural stimulation in both normal hearing subjects and persons with single-sided deafness would vary with the complexity and nature of the stimuli and the side of stimulation. Design: Patients with left- and right single-sided deafness and controls with normal hearing receiving either binaural or monaural stimuli were tested using speech and non-speech auditory stimuli in an event-related fMRI experiment. Study sample: Twenty-two patients with single-sided deafness after treatment for vestibular schwannoma and 50 normal hearing controls. Results: Normal hearing persons receiving right side monaural stimuli activate bilateral temporal regions. Activation following left side monaural stimulation is more right lateralized. Persons with single-sided deafness respond similarly to controls to monaural stimulation. Persons with right side single-sided deafness show activation of frontal cortical regions not seen in persons with left side single-sided deafness following speech stimuli. This is possibly related to increased effort and more frequently reported problems with communication. Right side single-sided deafness is related to increased activation of areas usually related to processing of degraded input, including the thalamus. Conclusion: Hemispheric dominance following monaural auditory stimulation is modulated by the spectral-temporal properties of the stimuli and by which ear is stimulated. Differences between patients with right- and left side deafness suggests that right side deafness is related to increased activation of areas involved in processing of degraded input.