The fundamental problem of hearing is determining how a complex sound waveform can be interpreted by the brain as the auditory world around us. All information about an auditory scene is encoded in the auditory nerve, which projects to the cochlear nuclei in the brainstem. At this level, different types of information are extracted by different neural elements by using synaptic and cellular specializations that decode the nerve inputs. I am specifically interested in how timing and intensity cues are extracted at the auditory nerve to cochlear nucleus synapse and how short-term synaptic plasticity might contribute to this process. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings are made from acute slices of the chick auditory brainstem, a model in vitro system for the study of hearing. Physiological techniques are combined with quantitive modeling of synaptic plasticity and biophysical membrane properties.