The influence of transducer operating point on distortion generation in the cochlea

Davud B. Sirjani, Alec N. Salt, Ruth M. Gill, Shane A. Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Distortion generated by the cochlea can provide a valuable indicator of its functional state. In the present study, the dependence of distortion on the operating point of the cochlear transducer and its relevance to endolymph volume disturbances has been investigated. Calculations have suggested that as the operating point moves away from zero, second harmonic distortion would increase. Cochlear microphonic waveforms were analyzed to derive the cochlear transducer operating point and to quantify harmonic distortions. Changes in operating point and distortion were measured during endolymph manipulations that included 200-Hz tone exposures at 115-dB SPL, injections of artificial endolymph into scala media at 80, 200, or 400 nl/min, and treatment with furosemide given intravenously or locally into the cochlea. Results were compared with other functional changes that included action potential thresholds at 2.8 or 8 kHz, summating potential, endocochlear potential, and the 2 f1 - f2 and f2 - f1 acoustic emissions. The results demonstrated that volume disturbances caused changes in the operating point that resulted in predictable changes in distortion. Understanding the factors influencing operating point is important in the interpretation of distortion measurements and may lead to tests that can detect abnormal endolymph volume states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1229
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


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