Active Processes and Otoacoustic Emissions in Hearing by Geoffrey A. Manley, Richard R. Fay

By Geoffrey A. Manley, Richard R. Fay

The cochlea doesn't simply choose up sound, it additionally produces sounds of low depth known as Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs). Sounds produced through fit ears – both spontaneously or according to stimuli - permit researchers and clinicians to check listening to and cochlear functionality noninvasively in either animals and people. This publication offers the 1st critical evaluation of the organic foundation of those otoacoustic emissions.

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Why, if local nonlinear “saturation” of cochlear mechanics resulted in a wave-fixed reflector of distortion, did it not also produce wave-fixed (low apparent delay) stimulus frequency emissions? On the latter crucial point, such emissions had been reported in gerbils (Kemp and Brown 1983a,b), but they had never been seen in human ears. The puzzle left by Kemp in 1986 was solved step by step. Brown et al. (1996) demonstrated that there could be two different sources of the same DP frequency. Shera and Guinnan (1999) clarified the matter still further by rejecting Kemp’s presumption that mechanical nonlinearity was a factor in the reflection of traveling-wave energy to form emissions.

This can undermine interpretation. A major challenge in OAE research is to extract fundamentally important information about hair-cell and cochlear status from OAE data. T. , Russell and Lukashkin 2005). Unfortunately, the profile of emitted distortion-product components (see Fig. 3) does not allow the unambiguous determination of hair cell operating characteristics, not least because the relative DP proportions are grossly affected by the emissions mechanism and the integration of multiple cellular sources.

Furthermore, it was found that the “beats,” double sounds, and “idiotone” phenomena reported by Wegel, Ward, and Flottorp respectively occurred primarily around the frequencies of the deepest threshold and strongest loudness enhancements (Fig. 4a). This implied a direct link between the apparently rare phenomenon of “phantom” internal oscillations, which caused beats, and the more common microstructure of hearing threshold reported by Elliot and Thomas. Crucially, Kemp and Martin deduced that all these phenomena were physical and not neural.

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