Electrophysiological Measurements of Peripheral Vestibular Function—A Review of Electrovestibulography
To further elucidate nuances of bone-conduction (BC) stimulation, particularly as they may pertain to BC-elicited auditory brainstem responses (ABRs), real head measurements were made of vibratory responses to BC clicks. A miniature accelerometer was held firmly against the skull near a bone vibrator applied to the mastoid, to the opposite mastoid, and to the forehead. Measurements also were made with the vibrator applied to the forehead and the accelerometer placed on a mastoid. The measured vibrations were compared among conditions within and across subjects. The results demonstrate that vibration picked up in the immediate vicinity of the vibrator, roughly mimics the temporal and spectral characteristics of the click observed on an artificial mastoid. However, probing at sites remote to the bone vibrator suggested the introduction of a propagation-like delay as well as low-pass filtering. These findings support observations of previous researchers who demonstrated phase differences between vibrations recorded at different points on the skull, further demonstrating the complexities of skull vibration. Latency differences of ABR responses obtained with forehead versus mastoid placements, for example, cannot be attributed merely to the difference in efficiency between sites of stimulation demonstrated audiometrically. While the real head observations do not permit determination of the actual vibratory lag at the cochlea, they do permit the deduction that a comparable onset delay occurs in BC as in air-conduction stimulation via supra-aural earphones.