Volume 111, Issue 2, February 2002
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
111(2002); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1432977View Description Hide Description
Measurement of the motion of the malleus umbo and stapes footplate during bone conduction (BC) stimulation was conducted in vitro in 26 temporal bones using a laser Doppler vibrometer over the frequency range 0.1 to 10 kHz. For lower frequencies, both ossicular sites followed the motion of the temporal bone. The differential motion between the malleus and the surrounding bone was greater than the differential motion of the stapes footplate; both resonated near 1.5 kHz. Different lesions were shown to affect the response: (1) a mass attached to the umbo lowered the resonance frequency of the ossicular vibration; (2) fixation of either the malleus or stapes increased the stiffness and shifted the resonance frequency upward; and (3) dislocation of the incudo-stapedial joint did not significantly affect the ossicular vibration. The sound radiated from the tympanic membrane was approximately 85 dB SPL at an umbo differential velocity of 1 mm/s for low frequencies in an open ear canal and about 10 dB higher for an occluded one; at higher frequencies (above 2 kHz) resonances of the canal determine the response. It was also found that the motion between the footplate and promontory was within 5 dB when the specimen was stimulated orthogonal to the vibration direction of the ossicles than in line with the same. Measurement of the differential motion of the umbo in one live human skull gave similar response as the average result from the temporal bone specimens.
111(2002); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1430682View Description Hide Description
Movement of the external ear canal, associated with jaw motion, relative to the concha region of the pinna has been studied. Pairs of open-jaw and closed-jaw impressions were taken of 14 ears from 10 subjects. Three-dimensional coordinate data were obtained from the concha and the anterior surface of the canal using a reflex microscope. Proprietary area-based matching software was used to evaluate distortion of the two surfaces between the two jaw positions. The canal data from each pair were placed into the same coordinate system with their respective concha regions aligned. Difference maps of the canal data were used to demonstrate the amount of anterior–posterior (A–P), superior–inferior (S–I), and medial–lateral (M–L) movement, relative to the concha, that occurred between the open- and closed-jaw impressions. The concha regions did not undergo significant deformation. The canal regions underwent varying amounts of deformation with all canals conforming within an rms of 136 μm across the entire surface. The majority of canals underwent significant movement relative to the concha. M–L movement ranged from +2.0 to −3.8 mm; eight canals moved laterally, five moved medially, and two showed no movement. S–I movement ranged from +3.7 to −2.7 mm; nine canals moved inferiorly, two moved superiorly, and three showed no movement. A–P movement ranged between +7.5 and −8.5 mm, with five canals moving anteriorly, three posteriorly, and four in a mixed fashion. This study has shown the variability of canal movement relative to the concha and does not support previous reports that suggest that the ear canal only widens with jaw opening.
111(2002); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1432979View Description Hide Description
Theoretical considerations and experimental evidence suggest that otoacoustic emission parameters may be used to reveal early cochlear damage, even before it can be diagnosed by standard audiometric techniques. In this work, the statistical distributions of a set of otoacoustic emission parameters chosen as candidates for the early detection of cochlear damage (global and band reproducibility, response level, signal-to-noise ratio,spectral latency, and long-lasting otoacoustic emission presence) were analyzed in a population of 138 ears. These ears have been divided, according to a standard audiometric test, in three classes: (1) ears of nonexposed bilaterally normal subjects, (2) normal ears of subjects with unilateral noise-induced high-frequency hearing loss, and (3) their hearing impaired ears. For all analyzed parameters, a statistically significant difference was found between classes 1 and 2. This difference largely exceeds the difference observed between classes 2 and 3. This fact suggests that the noise exposure, which was responsible for the unilateral hearing loss, also caused subclinical damage in the contralateral, audiometrically normal, ear. This is a clear indication that otoacoustic emission techniques may be able to early detect subclinical damages.
111(2002); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1428548View Description Hide Description
Analysis of mechanical cochlear responses to wide bands of random noise clarifies many effects of cochlear nonlinearity. The previous paper [de Boer and Nuttall, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107, 1497–1507 (2000)] illustrates how closely results of computations in a nonlinear cochlear model agree with responses from physiological experiments. In the present paper results for tone stimuli are reported. It was found that the measured frequency response for pure tones differs little from the frequency response associated with a noise signal. For strong stimuli, well into the nonlinear region, tones have to be presented at a specific level with respect to the noise for this to be true. In this report the nonlinear cochlear model originally developed for noise analysis was modified to accommodate pure tones. For this purpose the efficiency with which outer hair cells modify the basilar-membrane response was made into a function of cochlear location based on local excitation. For each experiment, the modified model is able to account for the experimental findings, within 1 or 2 dB. Therefore, the model explains why the type of filtering that tones undergo in the cochlea is essentially the same as that for noise signals (provided the tones are presented at the appropriate level).
111(2002); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1434942View Description Hide Description
The neural processes underlying concurrent sound segregation were examined by using event-related brain potentials. Participants were presented with complex sounds comprised of multiple harmonics, one of which could be mistuned so that it was no longer an integer multiple of the fundamental. In separate blocks of trials, short-, middle-, and long-duration sounds were presented and participants indicated whether they heard one sound (i.e., buzz) or two sounds (i.e., buzz plus another sound with a pure-tone quality). The auditory stimuli were also presented while participants watched a silent movie in order to evaluate the extent to which the mistuned harmonic could be automatically detected. The perception of the mistuned harmonic as a separate sound was associated with a biphasic negative–positive potential that peaked at about 150 and 350 ms after sound onset, respectively. Long duration sounds also elicited a sustained potential that was greater in amplitude when the mistuned harmonic was perceptually segregated from the complex sound. The early negative wave, referred to as the object-related negativity (ORN), was present during both active and passive listening, whereas the positive wave and the mistuning-related changes in sustained potentials were present only when participants attended to the stimuli. These results are consistent with a two-stage model of auditory scene analysis in which the acoustic wave is automatically decomposed into perceptual groups that can be identified by higher executive functions. The ORN and the positive waves were little affected by sound duration, indicating that concurrent sound segregation depends on transient neural responses elicited by the discrepancy between the mistuned harmonic and the harmonic frequency expected based on the fundamental frequency of the incoming stimulus.