Estimating the operating point of the cochlear transducer using low-frequency biased distortion products

Daniel J. Brown, Jared J. Hartsock, Ruth M. Gill, Hillary E. Fitzgerald, Alec N. Salt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Distortion products in the cochlear microphonic (CM) and in the ear canal in the form of distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) are generated by nonlinear transduction in the cochlea and are related to the resting position of the organ of Corti (OC). A 4.8 Hz acoustic bias tone was used to displace the OC, while the relative amplitude and phase of distortion products evoked by a single tone [most often 500 Hz, 90 dB SPL (sound pressure level)] or two simultaneously presented tones (most often 4 kHz and 4.8 kHz, 80 dB SPL) were monitored. Electrical responses recorded from the round window, scala tympani and scala media of the basal turn, and acoustic emissions in the ear canal were simultaneously measured and compared during the bias. Bias-induced changes in the distortion products were similar to those predicted from computer models of a saturating transducer with a first-order Boltzmann distribution. Our results suggest that biased DPOAEs can be used to non-invasively estimate the OC displacement, producing a measurement equivalent to the transducer operating point obtained via Boltzmann analysis of the basal turn CM. Low-frequency biased DPOAEs might provide a diagnostic tool to objectively diagnose abnormal displacements of the OC, as might occur with endolymphatic hydrops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2129-2145
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


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