Using MRI to examine the human auditory brainstem

Project Details

Using MRI to examine the human auditory brainstem

A number of severe neurological disorders present with characteristic auditory processing deficits. Affected individuals typically present with normal or near-normal sound detection thresholds, present cochlear microphonics (pre-neural response) but absent neural responses from the VIII nerve, cochlear nucleus and brainstem. In addition, listeners with these disorders are significantly poorer at understanding speech, particularly in the presence of background noise. Collectively, these data indicate an underlying pathology in the auditory nerve/brainstem, however the exact location of any structural changes have remained elusive in the absence of adequate methods to study the human auditory brainstem in situ. This project is aimed at identification and quantification of the structural pathways in the human auditory brainstem and comparing these to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. Early, objective neurodiagnosis has the potential to inform intervention, and thus, profoundly impact long-term speech, language & educational outcomes in this population. Projects under this research theme involve multi-disciplinary, cross-institutional collaborations between A/Prof Alan Connelly and A/Prof Gary Rance.


Mr Julien Zanin (PhD student)


  • A/Prof Alan Connelly (Melbourne Brain Centre, Austin campus)
  • A/Prof Gary Rance (Audiology)


  • Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation
  • Hearing CRC

Research Publications

Nayagam, B.A. Using advanced MRI to map the human auditory brainstem. Proceedings of the Frontiers in Otolaryngology Meeting. Oral session3, pp.22. Gold Coast, QLD (2016)

Research Group

Auditory Neuroscience Unit

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Mental Health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Audiology and Speech Pathology

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