Volume 104, Issue 6, December 1998
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
104(1998); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.423930View Description Hide Description
In order to better understand the mechanics of tympanic membrane (TM) transduction at frequencies above a few kHz, the middle-ear (ME) impedance measured near the tympanic membrane is studied for three anesthetized cat ears after widely opening the ME cavities (MEC). Three conditions were measured: intact ossicles, drained cochlea, and disarticulated stapes. When the cochlear load is removed from the ME by disarticulating the stapes, the impedance magnitude varies by about ±25 dB in the 5- to 30-kHz range, with peaks and valleys at intervals of ≈5 kHz. These measurements suggest middle-ear standing waves. It is argued that these standing waves reside in the TM. In contrast, the magnitude of the impedance for the intact case varies by less than ±10 dB, indicating that for this case the standing waves are damped by the cochlear load. Since the measurements were made within 2 mm of the TM, standing waves in the ear canal can be ruled out at these frequencies. Although the ME cavities were widely opened, reflections from the ME cavity walls or surrounding structures could conceivably result in standing waves. However, this possibility is ruled out by model predictions showing that such large standing waves in the ME cavity space would also be present in the intact case, in disagreement with the observation that standing waves are damped by cochlear loading. As a first-order approximation, the standing waves are modeled by representing the TM as a lossless transmission line with a frequency-independent delay of 36 μs. The delay was estimated by converting the impedance data to reflectance and analyzing the reflectance group delay. In the model the ossicles are represented as lumped-parameter elements. In contrast to previous models, the distributed and lumped parameter model of the ME is consistent with the measured impedance for all three conditions in the 200-Hz to 30-kHz region. Also in contrast with previous models, the ear-canal impedance is not mass dominated for frequencies above a few kHz. Finally, the present model is shown to be consistent, at high frequencies, with widely accepted transfer functions between (i) the stapes displacement and ear-canal pressure, (ii) the vestibule pressure and ear-canal pressure, and (iii) the umbo velocity and ear-canal volume velocity. An improved understanding of TM mechanics is important to improve hearing aid transducer design, ear-plug design, as well as otoacoustic emissions research.
104(1998); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.423931View Description Hide Description
Steady-state auditory evoked potentials (SSAEPs) in alert adults are most detectable at stimulus or modulation rates of about 40 Hz. Sedation reduces the detectability of 40-Hz SSAEPs and increases it for higher rate SSAEPs. This study examined whether rates higher than 40 Hz would be preferable for detecting responses to low-intensity tones in sedated adults. Fourteen normal adults listened to 640-Hz tones at modulation rates (and toneburst rates) of 20–160 Hz, in 10-Hz steps, at levels of 38 and 58 dB peak equivalent sound-pressure level (peSPL) (20 and 40 dB normal hearing level (nHL) for amplitude-modulated (AM) tones), both alert and sedated (1–2 g chloral hydrate). Sedation reduced both signal (SSAEP) power and noise power at all rates, but noise power reduction was greater for higher rates. Detectability in the alert condition was always greatest at 40 Hz. Under sedation, a second detectability peak was present at 90 Hz for 58-dB peSPL tones, approximately equal to that seen at 40 Hz. At 38 dB peSPL (sedated), peak detectability moved from 40 to 50 Hz. These results suggest that presentation/modulation rates around 40 Hz may be optimal for SSAEP detectability at low levels in adults, whether alert or sedated.