Volume 134, Issue 5, November 2013
Index of content:
- PHYSIOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
A simple electrical lumped-element model simulates intra-cochlear sound pressures and cochlear impedance below 2 kHz134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824154View Description Hide Description
Low-frequency sounds displace large parts of the basilar membrane (BM) and can have a modulating and possibly disturbing effect on hearing at other frequencies. A better understanding of the transfer of such sounds onto the BM is therefore desirable. Lumped-element models have previously been employed to determine the low-frequency acoustic properties of the cochlea. Although helpful in illustrating schematically the role of the helicotrema, BM compliance, and the round window on low-frequency hearing, these models, when applied quantitatively, have not been able to explain experimental data in detail. Building on these models, an extended electrical analog requires just 13 lumped elements to capture, in surprising detail, the physiologically determined frequency-dependence of intra-cochlear pressure and cochlear impedance between 10 Hz and 2 kHz. The model's verification is based on data from cat, guinea pig, and humans, who differ principally in their low-frequency cochlear acoustics. The modeling data suggest that damping within the helicotrema plays a less prominent role than previously assumed. A resonance feature, which is often observed experimentally near 150 Hz in these animals and near 50 Hz in humans, is presumably a phenomenon local to the apex and not the result of a standing wave between stapes and helicotrema.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824618View Description Hide Description
The ototoxic effect of the exposure to styrene is evaluated, also in the presence of simultaneous exposure to noise, using otoacoustic emissions as biomarkers of mild cochlear damage. Transient-evoked and distortion product otoacoustic emissions were recorded and analyzed in a sample of workers (15 subjects) exposed to styrene and noise in a fiberglass manufacturing facility and in a control group of 13 non-exposed subjects. Individual exposure monitoring of the airborne styrene concentrations was performed, as well as biological monitoring, based on the urinary concentration of two styrene metabolites, the Mandelic and Phenylglyoxylic acids. Noise exposure was evaluated using wearable phonometers, and hearing loss with pure tone audiometry. Due to their different job tasks, one group of workers was exposed to high noise and low styrene levels, another group to higher styrene levels, close to the limit of 20 ppm, and to low noise levels. A significant negative correlation was found between the otoacoustic emission levels and the concentration of the styrene urinary metabolites. Otoacoustic emissions, and particularly distortion products, were able to discriminate the exposed workers from the controls, providing also a rough estimate of the slope of the dose-response relation between otoacoustic levels and styrene exposure.
134(2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4824159View Description Hide Description
The basilar membrane (BM) and perilymph motion in the cochlea due to rocking stapes motion (RSM) and piston-like stapes motion (PSM) is modeled by numerical simulations. The full Navier–Stokes equations are solved in a two-dimensional box geometry. The BM motion is modeled by independent oscillators using an immersed boundary technique. The traveling waves generated by both stimulation modes are studied. A comparison of the peak amplitudes of the BM motion is presented and their dependence on the frequency and on the model geometry (stapes position and cochlear channel height) is investigated. It is found that the peak amplitudes for the RSM are lower and decrease as frequency decreases whereas those for the PSM increase as frequency decreases. This scaling behavior can be explained by the different mechanisms that excite the membrane oscillation. Stimulation with both modes at the same time leads to either a slight increase or a slight decrease of the peak amplitudes compared to the pure PSM, depending on the phase shift between the two modes. While the BM motion is dominated by the PSM mode under normal conditions, the RSM may lead to hearing if no PSM is present or possible, e.g., due to round window atresia.