Volume 121, Issue 6, June 2007
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
121(2007); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2722213View Description Hide Description
The goals of the current study were to: 1) evaluate the feasibility of a new wideband approach to measuring middle-ear muscle reflex (MEMR) status, and 2) to test the hypothesis that ipsilateral thresholds elicited with 1 or tones and broadband noise activators on a wideband acoustic transfer function (WATF) system are lower than thresholds elicited on a clinical system. Clinical MEMR tests have limitations, including the need for high activator levels to elicit a shift in a narrowband probe (e.g., a 0.226 or tone). Wideband MEMR tests using WATFs may elicit the reflex at lower levels because a wideband probe (click) is used and the threshold detection criterion can be wideband. Mean wideband MEMR thresholds across 40 normal-hearing adult ears were lower than clinical MEMR thresholds, depending on the activator and specific WATF test used (admittance magnitude or energy reflectance). Wideband MEMR has potential clinical utility beyond the adult population, including use in newborn and preschool hearing screenings. In a newborn hearing screening, for example, wideband MEMR could be completed with the same system as otoacoustic emissions. However, further investigations in infants and young children are needed.
Distortion product otoacoustic emission suppression tuning and acoustic admittance in human infants: Birth through 6 months121(2007); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2734481View Description Hide Description
Previous work has reported non-adultlike distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) suppression in human newborns at , indicating an immaturity in peripheral auditory function. In this study, DPOAE suppression tuning curves (STCs) were recorded as a measure of cochlear function and acoustic admittance/reflectance (YR) in the ear canal recorded as a measure of middle-ear function, in the same 20 infants at birth and through 6 months of age. DPOAE STCs changed little from birth through 6 months, showing excessively narrow and sharp tuning throughout the test period. In contrast, several middle-ear indices at corresponding frequencies shifted systematically with increasing age, although they also remained non-adultlike at 6 months. Linear correlations were conducted between YR and DPOAE suppression features. Only two correlations out of 76 were significant, and all but three YR variables accounted for of the variance in DPOAE suppression tuning. The strongest correlation was noted between admittance phase at and STC tip-to-tail . The association between middle-ear variables and DPOAE suppression may be stronger during other developmental time periods. Study of older infants and children is needed to fully define postnatal immaturity of human peripheral auditory function.
121(2007); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2722506View Description Hide Description
Previous physiological studies investigating the transfer of low-frequency sound into the cochlea have been invasive. Predictions about the human cochlea are based on anatomical similarities with animal cochleae but no direct comparison has been possible. This paper presents a noninvasive method of observing low frequency cochlear vibration using distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) modulated by low-frequency tones. For various frequencies , the level was adjusted to maintain an equal DPOAE-modulation depth, interpreted as a constant basilar membrane displacement amplitude. The resulting modulator level curves from four human ears match equal-loudness contours (ISO226:2003) except for an irregularity consisting of a notch and a peak at and , respectively, suggesting a cochlear resonance. This resonator interacts with the middle ear stiffness. The irregularity separates two regions of the middle ear transfer function in humans: A slope of below the irregularity suggests mass-controlled impedance resulting from perilymph movement through the helicotrema; a 6-dB/octave slope above the irregularity suggests resistive cochlear impedance and the existence of a traveling wave. The results from four guinea pig ears showed a 6-dB/octave slope on either side of an irregularity around , and agree with published data.