To evaluate the influence of the acoustic context on the latency and amplitude tuning curves (TCs) of cochlear nerve compound action potentials (CAPs), tonal stimuli were generated with a variety of amplitude modulation envelopes. CAPs were produced by intensity increases (onsets) and decreases (offsets) from the low ambient sound level and by intensity changes from a preexisting tonal level. Onset CAPs from ambient levels generated V-shaped TCs. However, when simultaneous masking was used with onset CAPs which were produced by a 5- to 12-dB increase from preexisting levels of approximately 65 dB SPL, TCs were W-shaped and similar in appearance to those produced by simultaneous masking of offset CAPs. The forward masking of this same CAP resulted in a very sharp V-shaped TC. These data suggest that the preadaptation to 10 ms of a moderate level of a tonal stimulus can increase the tuning of ensembles of cochlear neurons to subsequent transient amplitude changes.