Volume 116, Issue 6, December 2004
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
116(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1815111View Description Hide Description
The temporal representation of speechlike stimuli in the auditory-nerve output of a guinea pig cochlea model is described. The model consists of a bank of dual resonance nonlinear filters that simulate the vibratory response of the basilar membrane followed by a model of the inner hair cell/auditory nerve complex. The model is evaluated by comparing its output with published physiological auditory nerve data in response to single and double vowels. The evaluation includes analyses of individual fibers, as well as ensemble responses over a wide range of best frequencies. In all cases the model response closely follows the patterns in the physiological data, particularly the tendency for the temporal firing pattern of each fiber to represent the frequency of a nearby formant of the speech sound. In the model this behavior is largely a consequence of filter shapes; nonlinear filtering has only a small contribution at low frequencies. The guinea pig cochlear model produces a useful simulation of the measured physiological response to simple speech sounds and is therefore suitable for use in more advanced applications including attempts to generalize these principles to the response of human auditory system, both normal and impaired.
116(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1808221View Description Hide Description
Studies that have examined age effects in the human middle ear using either admittance measures at 220 or 660 Hz or multifrequency tympanometry from 200 to 2000 Hz have had conflicting results. Several studies have suggested an increase in admittance with age, while several others have suggested a decrease in admittance with age. A third group of studies found no significant age effect. This study examined 226 Hz tympanometry and wideband energy reflectance and impedance at ambient pressure in a group of 40 young adults and a group of 30 adults with age years. The groups did not differ in admittance measures of the middle ear at 226 Hz. However, significant age effects were found in wideband energy reflectance and impedance. In particular, in older adults there was a comparative decrease in reflectance from 800 to 2000 Hz but an increase near 4000 Hz. The results suggest a decrease in middle-ear stiffness with age. The findings of this study hold relevance for understanding the aging process in the auditory system, for the establishment of normative data for wideband energy reflectance, for the possibility of a conductive component to presbycusis, and for the interpretation of otoacoustic emission measurements.
Cochlear compression: Effects of low-frequency biasing on quadratic distortion product otoacoustic emission116(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1819501View Description Hide Description
Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) are generated from the nonlinear transduction in cochlear outer hair cells. The transducer function demonstrating a compressive nonlinearity can be estimated from low-frequency modulation of DPOAEs. Experimental results from the gerbils showed that the magnitude of quadratic difference tone (QDT, was either enhanced or suppressed depending on the phase of the low-frequency bias tone. Within one period of the bias tone, QDT magnitudes exhibited two similar modulation patterns, each resembling the absolute value of the second derivative of the transducer function. In the time domain, the center notches of the modulation patterns occurred around the zero crossings of the bias pressure, whereas peaks corresponded to the increase or decrease in bias pressure. Evaluated with respect to the bias pressure, modulated QDT magnitude displayed a double-modulation pattern marked by a separation of the center notches. Loading/unloading of the cochlear transducer or rise/fall in bias pressure shifted the center notch to positive or negative sound pressures, indicating a mechanical hysteresis. These results suggest that QDT arises from the compression that coexists with the active hysteresis in cochlear transduction. Modulation of QDT magnitude reflects the dynamic regulation of cochlear transducer gain and compression.
Distortion product otoacoustic emission suppression in 3-month-old infants: Evidence for postnatal maturation of human cochlear function?116(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1811472View Description Hide Description
The complete timeline for maturation of human cochlear function has not been defined. Distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE)-based measures of cochlear function show non-adult-like responses from premature and term-born neonates at high frequencies; however, older infants were not included in these studies. In the present experiment, previously collected DPOAE ipsilateral suppression data from premature neonates were combined with new data collected from adults, term-born neonates, and 3-month-old infants to further examine the time course for maturation of cochlear function. DPOAE suppression tuning curves (STC) and suppression growth patterns were measured in the three age groups at L1=65, L2=55 dB SPL, with an of 1.2. Results indicate that term-born neonates and 3-month-old infants have non-adult-like STC width, slope on the low-frequency flank, and tip features. However, the two infant groups are not significantly different from one another. Suppression growth patterns for low-frequency suppressor tones show a clear developmental progression. In general, the younger the infant, the more shallow and compressive the suppression growth for the lowest suppressor frequencies. These findings suggest a high-frequency postnatal immaturity in cochlear function as measured by DPOAE suppression. Results may have been influenced by noncochlear factors, such as middle-ear immaturity. These factors are reviewed and considered.
116(2004); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1798354View Description Hide Description
Temporal auditory acuity, the ability to discriminate rapid changes in the envelope of a sound, is essential for speech comprehension. Human envelope following responses (EFRs) recorded from scalp electrodes were evaluated as an objective measurement of temporal processing in the auditory nervous system. The temporal auditory acuity of older and younger participants was measured behaviorally using both gap and modulation detection tasks. These findings were then related to EFRs evoked by white noise that was amplitude modulated (25% modulation depth) with a sweep of modulation frequencies from 20 to 600 Hz. The frequency at which the EFR was no longer detectable was significantly correlated with behavioral measurements of gap detection and with the maximum perceptible modulation frequency The EFR techniques investigated here might be developed into a clinically useful objective estimate of temporal auditory acuity for subjects who cannot provide reliable behavioral responses.